The City of Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department’s Lawrence Rotary Arboretum that is maintained by local Rotarians and the Lawrence Parks and District Department has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and the Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

The ArbNet accreditation program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. The Lawrence Rotary Arboretum is 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 Lawrence Rotary Arboretum was conceived in 2003 and dedicated in 2005 as a project by the three local Rotary Clubs in Lawrence, the Lawrence Rotary Club, the Jayhawk Breakfast Rotary Club and the Central Rotary Club as a fundraising activity to commemorate the centennial of Rotary International. Funds raised went toward the waterfront gazebo.  The arboretum began development with the addition of new trees having identification markers which detailed the scientific name of the tree.  Gardens were also added, including a certified Monarch Watch waystation, providing habitat for butterflies.

Additional projects such as a performance stage, bike path rest station, and Westar Pergola were completed by local scout troops and other volunteer groups.

Recently, an inventory of trees was developed through the department’s use of TreeWorks mapping software and using GIS to develop an interactive storyboard.  The storyboard creates a self-guided tour of the arboretum, detailing trees planted within the arboretum with photos and common and scientific names of each species of trees via the internet. It can also be helpful to those visiting the park and can pull up the site on a mobile device. To visit the ESRI storyboard of the Lawrence Rotary Arboretum, please visit: http://lawks.us/2xCmOih.

ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. ArbNet facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience, and other resources to help arboreta meet their instructional goals and works to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The accreditation program is sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum, in cooperation with the American Public Gardens Association. and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International. The program offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity, and professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science, planting and conservation. You can find more information about ArbNet at www.arbnet.org.

For more information, please contact Crystal Miles, horticulture, and forestry manager, at (785) 832-7970.