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The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin

The creation of an arboretum on the campus of Kendal at Oberlin followed a conversation over dinner between two couples. With over 1,000 trees on 90 or so acres, they saw an opportunity to enhance the lives of Kendal residents while creating a sustainable ecosystem for enjoying nature’s beauty, exercising, watching birds, and of course planting and fostering the growth and appreciation of trees.

An Accredited Arboretum

ArbNet LogoAs a community based on Quaker values, it was logical to name the arboretum in honor of John Bartram, the Pennsylvania Quaker and friend of Benjamin Franklin who is known as America’s first botanist. Bartram traveled the colonies collecting and cataloging specimens, some of which were shipped to Europe in “Bartram’s Boxes.” His delivery of an American Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) created a sensation when it was first seen abroad. The decisions to name the arboretum in his honor and choose a signature tree were straightforward. The process was formalized when The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin was recognized as a Level I arboretum by the Arbnet Arboretum Accreditation Program of the Morton Arboretum with the America Tulip as the signature tree. We join Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands as continuing care retirement communities that support arboreta.

Mission Statement

The mission of The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin is to be a model of responsible urban arboriculture to engage, sustain, and educate our residents and the broader community.

Accomplishments So Far…

With fulfillment of this mission in mind, the arboretum committee has:

  • Placed interpretive tags on over 1,000 trees to enable residents to find and identify them;
  • Raised funds to support arboriculture;
  • Created the first in a series of web-based interpretive tree walks;
  • Developed outreach programs to Kendal’s Early Learning Center, the City of Oberlin, the Department of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College, The Ohio Independent Arborist Association, and the Ohio Division of Forestry;
  • Embarked on the construction of a web-based geographical information system (GIS) map of the arboretum;
  • Established a tree nursery to enlarge and diversify our collection.

As Kendal at Oberlin completes its 25th year, we celebrate the past and embrace the future.

Download a PDF copy of the John Bartram Arboretum Heiser Circle Tree Walk here.