Thanks to visionary leadership during the Great Depression, the UW-Arboretum encompasses the oldest and most varied collection of restored ecological communities in the world, including tallgrass prairies, savannas, several forest types and wetlands. It also houses flowering trees, shrubs and a world-famous lilac collection as well as an extensive series of native plant gardens surrounding the Visitor’s Center. More than 650,000 visitors avail themselves of more than 20 miles of trails, observing nature, bird watching, hiking, skiing, jogging, snow shoeing and engaging in nature drawing and photography.
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Educational tours for groups and the general public, science and nature-based classes for all ages and abilities, and a wide variety of volunteer opportunities exist for groups, families and individuals. Tending the Arboretum’s 1,260 acres and more than 1,266 acres in outlying properties requires an experienced staff of land managers, along with scientists, students and volunteers who restore and protect biological diversity and ecosystem functions, while striking a judicial balance between research, educational and recreational uses of the properties.
The Arboretum: Challenges Amid Change
The Arboretum is concentrating on one key area which requires support from its many devoted friends.
- Longenecker Gardens
- A master plan to improve access, aesthetics and interpretation of the rich horticultural collection in the Longenecker Gardens is ready for implementation. Recognition for gifts to architectural elements, trail markings, signage and planting are available at a variety of levels.