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LC State earns Level I Arboretum Accreditation for campus

LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College campus earned Level I Arboretum Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program to become only the second arboretum accredited in Idaho by Arbnet, college officials have announced.

LC State received a Level 1 accreditation for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism.

The honor comes nearly a decade after college officials held their initial meeting of the Arboretum Committee. The now 13-member committee includes faculty, staff, students and community members. The committee provides guidance for future planning, input on a comprehensive campus tree plan, education of the campus community about the benefits of trees, and development of a community connection related to the campus and community trees. The college’s Physical Plant is responsible for the care of the campus trees.

Earlier this year, the committee worked on formally establishing the arboretum and acquiring accreditation. The accreditation process was spearheaded by Carrie Kyser, who is the co-chair of the Arboretum Committee, and a staff member in e-Learning Services at the college.

“Most people don’t know the extent of LC State’s dedication to its campus trees, so receiving this accreditation is one way to showcase the campus collection,” Kyser said.

To earn Level I arboreta status, the site needs to be publicly accessible with at least 25 species of woody plants, one or a few employees or volunteers, a governing body, and an arboretum plan. A student inventory last spring showed the campus had 1,437 trees with nearly 100 species and cultivars identified.

“As a state college, one of our roles is to provide learning opportunities for our students, as well as the community,” Kyser said. “This arboretum establishment fulfills that responsibility. The LC State Arboretum is a testament to the dedication of the committee and the Physical Plant staff who make the campus a place where students and visitors can enjoy and learn.”

To celebrate the accreditation, the Arboretum Committee has created a self-guided tree tour that highlights 14 trees or tree groupings throughout campus. Brochures featuring the map and information about the tour will soon be located at the campus map station by the Administration Building.

In the future, the committee plans to update tree identification tags, update and add educational signage, and pursue designation as a Tree Campus USA with the Arbor Day foundation. The committee is planning an Arbor Day celebration on April 24, 2020.

ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. The accreditation program is sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum, 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.