The University of Rochester’s arboretum was formally established in 1999, and since then continues to not only enhance the beauty of the campus, but also serves as an important tool for education and research. The University’s arboretum received Arbnet Accreditation at Level II in October 2021. There are a total of 511 accredited arboreta worldwide of which 151 are ranked at Level II.
Arbnet Accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement of accreditation standards. These standards include planning, governance, number of species, staff or volunteer support, education and public programming, and tree science research and conservation. The accreditation program aims to unify the arboretum community by establishing and sharing a widely recognized set of industry standards. Receiving accreditation allows an arboretum to identify opportunities for collaboration with other arboreta for scientific, collections, or conservation activities and advances the planting, study, and conservation of trees.
The Horticulture and Grounds team works hard year-round maintaining the many species of trees across all of the University’s campuses. In the summer of 2019, the group performed a Tree Inventory to maintain a record of the trees. With more than 1,000 trees on the River Campus, this inventory played an important role in achieving the Level II Arbnet accreditation. University Facilities and Services solicited the help of students Hanyia Ahmed `22 and Jacob Smith `21 to collect the data on trees and plot them on the map. Professor Blair Tinker was instrumental in creating the map on the ArcGIS platform. This map contains an interactive list of trees; users can click on any point to identify the type of tree and get information including the tree’s common and botanical name, height, diameter at breast height (DBH), growth history from 2013, and dedication information. A total of 164 species have been identified on University campuses so far. The inventory data is regularly updated and maintained by the Grounds team.
Being part of a university, education is an important aspect of the arboretum. Grounds staff regularly meet with classes to discuss sustainable practices, take them on tours of campus, and involve groups in tree plantings. Class projects such as the pollinator garden and rain garden at Witmer House facilitate experiential learning at the University. Annual tree tours are offered on campus during Meliora Weekend and are also available upon request to students, staff, patients, and visitors. The grounds team also does annual tree planting events with students, professors, clinical staff and the community to celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Day.
Written by Hanyia Ahmed, Class of 2022
Pictured above: by John McIntyre. Fall 2020. Katrina Smith Korfmacher, PhD and her students from Public Health 238: Environmental Health and Justice in the Rochester Community. The group took a walk on the trails in the woods of South Campus. Through the walk students were encouraged to ask questions about the trees. The Grounds staff identified native and invasive species, and helped students connect to the environment around them. No phones were allowed.
More Photos of the University of Rochester’s campuses grounds in various seasons, courtesy of John McIntyre: