SIU earns arboretum accreditation renewal
CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned a five-year renewal of its Level II Arboretum Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and the Morton Arboretum.
The university is also featured in the Morton Register of Arboreta, the only global initiative that officially recognizes arboreta for development, capacity and professionalism.
SIU was the first university in the state to earn that five-year accreditation in 2019 and has continued its commitment to nurturing forested areas and incorporating educational components.
“We are very proud to have achieved this accreditation renewal,” said Dave Tippy, superintendent of grounds. “With its remarkable and diverse arboreta, SIU’s campus has long been known as one of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States and it is gratifying to see it officially recognized.”
Campuswide effort earned accolade
A collaborative, campuswide effort led to the recognition. The Arboretum Advisory Committee is led by Facilities and Energy Management, which provides labor and staff for its initiatives. The committee includes people from numerous campus units.
To earn the accreditation, an arboretum must have a strategic plan, a governing board, public programming and a complete inventory of trees and woody plants on campus grounds. That’s quite an undertaking, since SIU’s 1,200-acre main campus landscape features more than 5,200 trees, including 155 species and 72 genera. SIU’s adheres to specific standards regarding their maintenance and incorporates educational components, as well.
Tree campus, ID program and walks
In addition, SIU has been designated as a Tree Campus Higher Education by the Arbor Day Foundation since 2015. The university offers tree walks, complete with a tree identification project which is the only one of its kind in the state.
Workers have tagged hundreds of trees with special QR/identification markers that feature the common and scientific names of each tree along with the SIU Arboretum identifier. Scanning the code with a smartphone or other device directs users to a website where they can learn more about each type of tree, its leaves, buds, bark, fruit and more.
The university created six different self-guided walking tree tours as well. Visit the SIU Arboretum website and find details about each tour, along with printable maps. The tours range from 1.3 to 2.3 miles and cover different areas of campus.
ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta working to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and to share knowledge, experience and other resources to help arboreta meet institutional goals. The accreditation program is sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, in cooperation with the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. It is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards.
The program offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing the various degrees of development, capacity and professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science, planting and conservation.
Learn more about the SIU Arboretum, including the mission, goals, objectives, campus tree tours and tree inventory map, at arboretum.siu.edu. Call 618-453-8185 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Find it on Twitter @siuarboretum.