Plants-of-the-Bible Tour at 1:30 pm
March 16 and again April 7, April 20
Learn about palms, pomegranates, figs, olives and other plants referenced in scriptural passages on an afternoon walk guided by Mesa resident Dave Oberpriller on the Third Saturday of each month this Winter and Spring on a relaxing and slow-paced walking tour down paths that are wheelchair-accessible. Tours are included with daily admission of $9 for adults, $4.50 ages 5-12 -- and they depart the visitor center breezeway lobby at 1:30 p.m. Queen Valley Bible scholar Leda Fide guides this walk on the First Sunday each month: her next walk will be April 7.
Frankincense was one of the three Gifts of the Magi -- and visitors have a chance to see this exotic plant when Dave Oberpriller guides his walk. Dave propagates this rare plant, and often brings a few potted specimens here to have available for visitors to purchase. Dave's plants are in one-gallon pots, they're about 15-18 inches high, and priced at $80 -- which you'll know is a bargain if you comparison-shop for one on Ebay.
Dave's POTB tours are slow-paced and relaxing, a weekend walk down smooth, flat trails that are wheelchair-accessible -- a chance to learn about plants, history and scripture, too.
Our guided "Plants of the Bible" walk includes a chance to see palms, pomegranates, figs and many others in our collections. This leisurely tour proceeds down paths that are easily accessible by those who use wheelchairs and walkers, and it explores the Demonstration Garden, Picnic area and Herb Garden.
Third-Saturday-of-the-monthwalks feature Mesa resident, Bible scholar and Arizona State Parks Volunteer David Oberpriller. Pomegranates, Olives, Common Fig, Palms...what do these plants have in common other than being referenced in Scripture? All grow well here in Arizona. These species are among dozens which may be seen during a walk through along the Arboretum's main trail and in the Demonstration Garden and Herb Garden collections. Join this tour to see a fig leaf, pictured at left, and judge for yourself just how much anatomy it might conceal.
"The people of the Bible were much closer to nature than we are today and were more aware of the cycles of the seasons, the weather, and the characteristics and use of plants," said Oberpriller, guide of our third-Saturday-each-month tour. "This is reflected in the many passages in the Bible that accurately refer to plants and agriculture."
Holy Land climates are similar to central Arizona -- basically hot, dry desert regions. Arboretum collections include a number of plants that are native to the region of the eastern Meditteranean.
"We start with a brief history of Biblical botany and understand why it is often difficult to determine exactly which species the Bible refers to when it mentions a plant. We will then follow a leisurely trail for about 1.5 miles and view over 20 plant species that are likely the ones referred to in the Bible passages.
"From the first plant mentioned in the Bible to the intimate understanding of plant growth demonstrated by the writer of Psalms to towns named after plants growing abundantly around them -- we will read the bible passages and look at the uses, symbolism, and significance of these plants to the people of the Bible," said Oberpriller." David Oberpriller has been a member of the Arboretum for 17 years and is also a volunteer. A software engineer who lives in Mesa, he is a botanical hobbyist who has researched Biblical plants which can be found at the Arboretum and will share his observations begining from the Visitor Center and proceeding about 90 minutes through the picnic area, Demonstration garden, Pine Loop, palm forest, olive grove, and the herb garden.
While there is no additional charge for this guided tour, admission of $9 for adults and $4.50 for ages 5-12 must be paid for entrance to the Arboretum. Church groups and civic clubs may also arrange a guided "Plants of the Bible" tour with Mr. Oberpriller or with other Arboretum volunteers who are versed in both Scripture and botany. Our regular monthly Plants of the Bible tour is open to all visitors who are here on time for the tour to begin, and guided tours can also be made by special arrangement for private groups. To arrange a private you must bring at least 20 people and also arrange the tour in advance with our Education Coordinator. Regular admission is charged, but there's no additional charge for your tourguide. Arrange a group tour by calling Instructional Specialist Lacey Pacheco at 520.689.2723, or by emailing lacey via lpacheco @ ag.arizona.edu
Boyce Thompson Arboretum is located about 45 minutes east of Mesa - right near highway 60 milepost #223. From Tucson, the Arboretum is about a two hour drive via highways 79 and 60. For other information or directions please call the recorded message line at 520-689-2811
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