>For Labor Day, I went to the National Arboretum with my son. For the first time, I took “our” bike (he sits in a Bobike mini front child seat). I highly recommend seeing the arboretum by bike if you can. The size of the park (I think about 450 acres) is too big to see on foot, and yet the distances are easily bikeable. From Google Maps, the park is about 0.8 mile wide by 1.2 miles long, perfect for a bike. It’s a little hilly, but my bike has a triple chainring, so just gear it down and crank away.
The National Arboretum is maintained by the USDA and incorporates elements of a large-scale garden. It’s not a natural forest, each section of the park is planned and landscaped in order to show the trees and plants in their natural environment. They have an extensive collection of Bonsai or Penjing, including trees that date back over 200 years.
They have a new exhibit for “energy crops”, plants that are current or potential sources of biofuel. Everything from corn, switchgrass and sugarcane (ethanol-producing crops) to peanuts, soybeans, jatropha and canola (biodiesel producing crops) to algae (either ethanol or biodiesel). The exhibit was well done, display signs explained each crop and type of fuel including the industrial processes used to make the fuel. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much in the way of information giving the scale of each potential source compared with the amount of liquid fuels used in the US or the world.