Living by the University of Michigan Arboretum, one of my favorite places to take visitors is the Grandmother Tree Walk. These eleven trees are the oldest trees of their kind in the Arboretum and generations of trees have descended from them. Started as a “living exhibit” during the University of Michigan Bicentennial two years ago, a sign in front of each tree commemorates its age and the important things happening on campus when it was first planted (e.g. first woman student). My favorite fall tree is the hundred-year old Ginkgo with its leaves like gold, across from the Main Valley.
Use these maps to plan your own journey through the Grandmother Trees on a sunny autumn day. A fun activity for children is to gather a fallen leaf or nut from each of the trees. The Yellowwood tree is gone but all the others are there in full glory for us to enjoy. The entire Arboretum will be ablaze with color during the fall. You are also welcome to join the International Neighbors Arboretum Hiking Group each Monday morning, which walks by several of the Grandmother Trees.