by Terry Gearing, Director of University Relations
Florida Atlantic University’s John D. MacArthur Campus in Jupiter recently hosted a special Arbor Day event. The campus is home to the Robert J. Huckshorn Arboretum, named in honor of the University’s vice president emeritus.
For the past 10 years, the campus has celebrated National Arbor Day, a holiday established in 1872 to encourage the planting of trees and honor their importance to human life. Students, faculty and staff, along with members of the community, gathered in the arboretum to celebrate this special day as part of the campus’ 15th anniversary. This year, members of the campus family contributed to the purchase of a bench to commemorate the special milestone.
“It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago this area was only sod. Now the plants are mature and the trees are tall,” said Huckshorn. “It’s incredible to see how the arboretum has grown. The reality far surpasses the vision I had in mind.”
FAU staff and volunteers have worked hard to create “a little piece of paradise” on the corner of University Boulevard and Main Street in the Abacoa development. Alana Edwards, education and training coordinator for the Center of Environmental Studies (CES), worked with designers from Cotleur & Hearing, landscape architects, to plan the overall design and implementation.
“We started with a butterfly garden by installing a variety of plants that attract butterflies,” said Edwards. “Then we added several groupings of native trees to reflect some of our Florida eco-systems.”
The arboretum showcases typical species found in pine flatwoods, tropical hardwood hammocks, mixed hardwood swamps and oak hammock. The centerpiece of the arboretum is a gazebo contributed by the Chastain Foundation, which includes a commemorative brick walkway honoring family and friends.
Another feature of the arboretum is Florida Power & Light’s “Right Tree, Right Place” demonstration project, which educates homeowners about which trees to plant under and near power lines.
For the fifth year, FAU Jupiter earned Tree Campus USA® recognition, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, which honors colleges, universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
“The Arboretum is a special place for people to enjoy nature in peaceful surroundings,” said Eliah Watlington, Ph.D., associate provost for FAU’s northern campuses. “The community is welcome to visit the arboretum and experience this wonderful legacy in honor of Bob Huckshorn.”
For more information on the Robert J. Huckshorn Arboretum, visit the CES website.