Northeastern University’s Very Own Arboretum
An arboretum is a botanical collection composed exclusively of trees. More commonly, a modern arboretum is a botanical garden containing living collections of woody plants and is intended, at least in part, for scientific study. It encourages the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. They are also great places to educate the public in how to use plants best in their own landscape. Northeastern University now has its own arboretum.
Important U.S. arboretums include the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University (Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts) and the United States National Arboretum in Washington, D.C.
And now, Northeastern University’s Boston campus has officially been recognised as an arboretum by ArbNet, a nonprofit dedicated to helping create and conserve arboreta around the world.
Chuck Doughty is the program director of landscaping grounds at Northeastern. He says that Northeastern is now the only university in Boston to have an arboretum on its campus. Doughty, who has been working for two years to have Northeastern recognised as an arboretum, has helped transform the Boston campus into an urban oasis.
More than 1,400 individual trees, representing 143 different species, shelter the walkways between buildings and surround the open green spaces.
The land on which much of the campus is built was surrounded by waterways that were filled in during the 19th century. It was a challenge, Doughty says, to find trees that could survive in this man-made environment.
“Through trial and error, we’ve found species that work,” says Doughty.
Northeastern’s Boston campus was named a level two arboretum. To be accredited, an arboretum needs to have a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming, and an inventory of every tree and woody plant on the grounds.
Northeastern will be required to host Arbor Day ceremonies, create an online database containing information about the trees on campus, and organise community service events.