By JENNIFER K. BAUER | INLAND360.COM
“I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.”
– John Burroughs
Forty years ago, 63 acres on the southern edge of the University of Idaho campus were barren, sloping hills. Today they are filled with 17,000 plants, including 2,561 trees. Throughout the groves are trails, water features and benches all devoted to the enjoyment of the diverse flora and fauna it attracts.
The UI Arboretum and Botanical Garden was proposed by UI President Ernie Hartung in 1975. In 1978, the Arboretum Associates, a volunteer community group, formed to make it a reality.
Since then the group has overseen the addition of every plant, tree, bush and bench. All were paid for donations and fundraisers by the group and special projects. University funds pay for maintaining the site but they are not used for development, said Paul Warnick, UI arboretum horticulturist.
On Wednesday the Arboretum Associates marks its 40th annual meeting with the free community art show, “Four Seasons in the UI Arboretum.” Paintings by community members will be for sale with 10 percent of the proceeds going to the Arboretum Associates. Moscow plein air artist Aaron Cordell Johnson will present the talk “Inspired by Nature.”
People are invited to come learn more about the group’s work.
Facts about the arboretum
– On Easter Sunday in 1982, members of the Moscow Rotary Club donated and planted the first trees in the arboretum.
– The arboretum is organized geographically into Asian, European, eastern, and western North American sections.
Walking trails range from easy grades to steep climbs to a vantage point from which the Blue Mountains of Oregon can be seen.
– In a typical year, there is something in bloom from February and March through October.
– Autumn color changes begin in September with the maples and continue into November with the eastern North American oaks.
– The Arboretum is accredited as a Level III (out of IV) arboretum through the Morton Arboretum’s ArbNet certification program.