The Parker Scripture Botanical Gardens Nature Trail was dedicated in 1985 to honor a local nurseryman and former Oneida County legislator Parker F. Scripture.
The Nature Trail, Gardens and the Extension Office encompass approximately 15 acres of land owned by Oneida County.
The Scripture family was known in the area for carrying a wide range of unusual plant materials at their tree, shrub and perennial nursery. They planted many varieties to test their hardiness in the harsh central New York winters.
Some of the plants included in the gardens have come from the grounds of their nursery.
The Parker Scripture Gardens committee for the nature trail and gardens intend to continue the Scripture’s tradition to testing “new” plants for our area. The overall theme of the nature trail and gardens will also adhere to Mr. Scripture’s preference for a natural landscape rather than a formal one.
Mr. and Mrs. Scripture have left Oneida County a legacy of enduring beauty — which people are invited to see for themselves: Our gardens are open every day dawn to dusk.
One can walk the nature trail viewing various tree species and wildflowers while experiencing nature. They may hear some birds sing and even get a chance to see some turkeys, deer, fox or other wildlife while hiking the trails.
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County’s 4-H program offers field trip programs to Oneida County’s elementary schools. Students and teachers are invited to come and experience nature on the grounds of the Extension’s Parker Scripture Botanical Garden and Nature Trail.
The guided field trips will give the students the opportunities to interact with nature and learn about various trees, flower species, insects and wildlife. These field trips are available during the school year, and they begin at 10 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. There is a maximum of 30 students per visit.
Teachers or administrators are encouraged to call for fees and details during the school year.
The Nature Trail and Gardens are maintained by the Master Gardener Volunteers and Volunteers of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County. Last fall, a group of Utica College students helped Master Gardener Volunteers place woodchips on the paths. These students did a great job, and we are thankful for this type of community outreach program that the college provides.
In the winter when the snow is falling, we have had visitors snow shoe on the paths and enjoyed themselves. The nature trail has several wooden bridges and when it is covered with snow there is no problem on walking on the bridges.
The trail is very shady in most places and in the summer the bridges become wet and a bit slippery. However, we try to maintain the paths as best as we can and enjoy the area.
In our nature trail, there are also ash trees. The ash trees were also included in a workshop that was held in our offices at 121 Second St., in Whitestown. The workshop, Lingering Ash Trees Provide Hope for Ash Restoration, was developed in close collaboration with leading US Forest Service scientists.
For more information, view our website cceoneida.com or call our horticulture hotline on Wednesday and Friday between 9 a.m. to noon, 315-736-3394.