The University Record, June 17, 2002

Student performance displays midsummer grandeur of Arb

To celebrate the beauty of the landscape and the transformation of the Heathdale, a free celebration was held at Nichols Arboretum June 6–8 featuring original music and dance. For the event dress rehearsal (at left), U-M Prof. Jessica Fogel led a group of dancers in an exploration of the Heathdale’s texture and unique terrain.

Percussionists, led by Assistant Prof. Michael Gould (center, left), used instruments including pieces of wood, spoons, washboards, shovels and drums to accompany the dancers.

The Heathdale celebration is part of a series called Arts in the Arb that also includes the current production of Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Remaining performances will be held June 20, 22 and 23. Space is limited.

For several years Arboretum (Arb) staff and volunteers from both the University and Ann Arbor community have worked to transform the Heathdale into its present condition. In October 2001 more than 150 rhododendrons and ferns were added to the Julie Norris Post Collection of Appalachian Plants.

‘The name “Heathdale” was given to this narrow valley of the Arboretum in the 1920s,’ says Arb Director Bob Grese. ‘That was after expeditions were made to the southern Appalachians for various plants of the ‘heath’ or ericaceous family to add to the collections of Nichols Arboretum.’ The heath family of plants includes rhododendron and azaleas, mountain laurel, dog-hobble, blueberry and sourwood.

Volunteers are needed to participate in ongoing Heathdale Restoration Workshops. Summer workshops will be held 9 a.m.–noon July 13 and Aug. 10. Snacks and tools will be provided. For more information, call (734) 998-9541, send e-mail to or visit the Web at

(Photos and collage by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)