WASHINGTON, PA (March 15, 2016) – The Campus Arboretum at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, securing its place among arboreta and gardens recognized world-wide for particularly high standards of professionalism in the field.
“Level I Accreditation through ArbNet gives our Campus Arboretum a benchmark for progress toward a more ecological, educational, and aesthetic living and learning environment,” said Jason Kilgore, Ph.D., a biology professor at W&J. Kilgore, with W&J Grounds Supervisor Jim Mirage, manage the arboretum with assistance from an Arboretum Advisory Committee of students, staff, faculty, and community.
“This accreditation substantiates our efforts and provides more support for ecological landscaping on the campus and broad educational programming for the community,” Kilgore said. “We are now on the map for global arboreta and want to be a welcome destination for people both young and old.”
The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. The Campus Arboretum at W&J is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.
The W&J Campus Arboretum was established in 2012 when Kilgore and alumnus Kyle Karwatski ’14 designed and populated bases to collect and manage data from campus trees. Karwatski also developed the Campus Arboretum website. Students, especially alumnus Nathan Pisciottano ’15, Lindsey Dove ’16, Daniel Toski ’16, and Hunter Hammil ’17, continue to play a substantial role in monitoring and maintaining the database and website for the Arboretum.
The Campus Arboretum now encompasses the entire 85 acres of urban campus and athletic facilities. All of the nearly 1,200 trees from 83 species are accessioned and evaluated, with over 930 trees bearing metal tags with accession number and family, scientific, and common names. Particularly noteworthy trees include a mature American elm, a mature willow oak, and five mature osage-oranges from an historical property line separating the College from the former Washington Female Seminary.
The college has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA since 2013, with dedicated involvement from students, staff, faculty, and local high school students in annual Arbor Day observances. Volunteer and paid College students have been integral in the development, monitoring, and maintenance of the Arboretum since its inception.
About the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program
The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, in cooperation with the American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards, the program offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity and professionalism. Accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum’s level of achievement of accreditation standards. Standards include planning, governance, labeling of species, staff or volunteer support, public access and programming and tree science, planting and conservation. More information is available at www.arbnet.org.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, PA, is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.