Veteran Memorial Grove

For the ninth year in a row now, the University of Rochester has been named a Tree Campus USA Institution by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is in thanks to the tireless efforts of the Horticulture and Grounds team, a division of Support Operations at the University. Tree Campus USA institutions demonstrate a commitment to urban forest management, conservation, and community engagement.

The University currently boasts an arboretum of more than 1,400 trees of 117 differing species on the River Campus. Horticulture and Grounds sees to the health and wellness of these trees, as well as the other shrubbery and flora.

This past year, Horticulture and Grounds planted roses, lavender and sage in the Veteran Memorial Grove. The garden is located below the stairs leading up to the heart of Wilson Quadrangle. The plant species were specifically selected to honor veterans. According to manager of Horticulture and Grounds David Nelson, they are much more than just plants, as “The rose, representing love, is the official flower of the United States. Lavender represents devotion and grace. Sage represents immortality and protection.”

Horticulture and Grounds collaborates with sustainability projects around campus. Recently, the group helped to expand the University’s recycling program on campus. The “Big Belly” Solar Powered trash compactors were installed with the hopes of encouraging recycling and sustainability efforts on campus. Additionally, rebates received from the University’s program with Imagine It to recycle used ink cartridges goes directly towards the arboretum fund, furthering the campus’ ‘go green’ initiative.

Finally, Dining Services, in partnership with Waste Management, has been able to produce compost from the University’s food waste. Horticulture and Grounds uses the finished compost product to use for planting across campus. The compost is important for creating healthy soil, and providing essential nutrients to the plants. It is also a natural and more sustainable alternative to chemical fertilizer. Check out this video for more information about the University’s composting process.

For those interested in a guided tour of the campus arboretum, contact David Nelson at, or John McIntyre, Horticulture & Grounds supervisor, at


Written by Teddi Shapiro, Class of 2019

Photo Credit: Teddi Shapiro

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