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Yearly Themes

Asbury Woods | Introduction to Tiny Forests

What is a Tiny Forest? How does it differ from a natural forest? Learn about Tiny Forests in this video with Asbury Woods Executive Director, Jennifer Farrar, and Mercyhurst University Biology Professor, Chris Dolanc as they talk about the concept of a tiny forest and its goal. 

Other resources for information:

Asbury Woods | Tiny Forests, Student Thesis Project

Hear from Mercyhurst University Graduate Student, Catherine Segada, as she explains why she picked the Tiny Forests as her thesis project and the impact it has on carbon sequestration and climate change. 

Catherin says, "Doing this project just reinforced the fact that we all need to put more effort into caring for our environment. If every individual works to do one thing, that would make a big difference" 

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2024: The Year of Trees

Trees form the backdrop for most of the Asbury Woods property and are core to the establishment of Asbury Woods by Dr. Otto Behrend, co-founder of Hammermill Paper Company in Erie. Dr. Behrend’s family had a rich history in papermaking, and from an early age he developed a deep appreciation for the power of trees, for industry, but also for health, wellbeing, and recreation. Throughout his life, Dr. Behrend was known as an avid outdoorsman, enjoying farming, walking in the woods with his dogs, golfing, planting fruit orchards and reforesting the 110-acre tract of land he purchased in 1920, then known as Asbury Farm. Dr. Behrend planted numerous trees over the years to reforest the former farmland but also to experiment with various papermaking processes. Dr. Behrend was known as an innovator in the science of papermaking and his country estate provided the perfect place to indulge his scientific curiosity and love of trees.

Upon his death, Dr. Behrend’s beloved country estate was left to become the community treasure that is Asbury Woods. His original 110 acres has grown to 234 acres today, but remains true to Dr. Behrend’s wish that it be a place for education and outdoor recreation. We can’t think of a better way to honor Dr. Behrend’s gift to the community than by celebrating 2024 as The Year of Trees.

The value of trees in a community is well-documented, providing shade and lowering energy costs, attracting wildlife, contributing to cleaner air, controlling erosion, reducing carbon in the atmosphere, beautification of urban, shopping, and residential areas, and so much more! This year Asbury Woods will explore trees from all angles. Identifying, appreciating, and caring for them, as well as sometimes knowing when to cut them down. Throughout the year we will host tree related programs and projects for all ages including hikes, self-guided activities, lectures, and an Arbor Day celebration just to name a few.

We are extremely grateful to J. Thomas Tree Service for serving as the Presenting Sponsor of The Year of Trees. Their involvement and support will provide topic experts for various programs and help us offer several new programs at no cost throughout the year. Owner, Jake Thomas, commented, “Asbury Woods is a special place in our community and I’m proud that our company has supported them for many years. During 2024 it is our pleasure to expand that support and partnership to present The Year of Trees.”

This year we hope you’ll take time to look at trees, appreciate them, learn more about them and share with us your favorite tree on our social media accounts with #yearoftrees. You can get started by attending one of our many upcoming Year of Trees programs that are easily identified with a tree symbol in the newsletter.

Year of Trees Programming:

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What’s Bugging Hemlocks? 
Identifying and Treating Hemlock Wooly Adelgids

Date: Thursday, May 30
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Age: Adults and children ages 14 and up
Location: Nature Center
FREE, pre-registration preferred

Join local arborist, Mark Spitulski, from MKS Arborist Services to learn about the hemlock wooly adelgid, Eastern hemlock trees, and how trees can be protected against invasive species. This program will include a short lecture followed by outdoor demonstrations of tree treatment against the hemlock wooly adelgid.

Save time by signing the waiver online.
Sign Waiver

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Forest Bathing

Dates: Saturdays June 15; July 20; August 17
Time: 10:00 – 11:15 a.m.
Age: Adults
Location: Nature Center
Supporting Donor Fee: $3
Program Fee: $5

Enjoy a meditative walk using your senses to explore the woods, including a sit spot and a sharing circle. This program will be led by Craig Casler, Certified Instinctive Meditation Teacher and
Forest Bathing Guide.

Register Here

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Pennsylvania Forest Industry: Forests of Many Uses

Date: Thursday, June 27
Time: 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Age: All ages
Location: Nature Center
FREE, pre-registration preferred

Healthy "working forests" provide clean air and water, wildlife habitat, recreation and green space. They also provide jobs and the beautiful wood products that fuel our daily lives! Learn about the many uses and types of forest products, sustainable forest management, the importance of active management for healthy "working" forests, and about current threats to PA forests. This program will be presented by the Allegheny Hardwood Utilization Group (AHUG). AHUG provides education on sustainable forestry, the role of working forests in PA, responsible timber harvesting, wood products, and all the great careers available in the Pennsylvania forest and wood products industry.

Register Here

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Hike to Celebrate National Forest Week

Date: Tuesday, July 9
Time: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Age: All Ages
Location: Nature Center
FREE, no pre-registration required

Celebrate National Forest Week with a trek through Asbury Woods. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, dress for the weather, and bring water. All ages are welcome but must be able to hike 2-3 miles.

Save time by signing the waiver online.

Sign Waiver


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Love Your Tree with White Pine Center for Healing

Date: Saturday, July 27
Time: 3:00– 4:15 p.m.
Age: Adults and children ages 5 and up
Location: Nature Center
Program Fee: $2 per person

Love Your Tree is an arts-based body positivity program that celebrates body diversity utilizing creativity. White Pine Center staff will lead an engaging discussion around body acceptance and appreciation connecting the differences and diversity seen in nature with those in people, as living things. Families will be given materials to translate this message into a physical representation, highlighting the value in the uniqueness that makes them who they are. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Register Here

Launching our new yearly theme

We are excited to announce that in 2024, Asbury Woods will again have a year-long theme for our programs and outreach activities, The Year of Trees. Yearly themes help us to dive deeper into various environmental and conservation topics as we pursue our vision for Northwestern Pennsylvania to be a place where appreciation for and protection of natural places is a deeply held personal and community value.

 Sponsored by


Year of Water cover

2023: The Year of Water

Water is one of the world’s most vital natural resources and our region’s strategic location adjacent to Lake Erie makes the topic of clean water and sustainable use of fresh water a matter of local, regional, national, and global significance. Whether we are drinking it, recreating in and on it, living on its shores, or using it for industry, Lake Erie and its watershed surrounds us and is an inescapable part of the fabric of our community. With Walnut Creek, a major tributary of Lake Erie, passing through Asbury Woods' property, water was a natural choice to kick off our yearly themes.

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