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The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin Thrives

2016 has been an amazing year of accomplishments for The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin. It has been a place of making connections, learning and the diligent dedicated work of residents, staff and Oberlin College students.

A passion for protecting our natural resources has driven the stewarding of the Kendal campus as an arboretum. The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin is accredited by ArbNet as a Level I arboretum. An abundance of mature trees dot the campus and the preservation of these, along with the acquisition of other diverse woody plants, is in keeping with the arboretum’s mission.

Financial Support

A $5,000 grant from Kendal Charitable Funds and nearly $6,000 in matching funds from Kendal residents and friends provided for:

  • The purchase of an engraving machine and materials to support the addition of new interpretive tree labels for the arboretum
  • A 2-part Arbor Day celebration, which included the planting of a signature American Tulip tree in the arboretum and one donated to the City of Oberlin and planted in Martin Luther King Park
  • A donation of six fruit trees to the Oberlin City Legion Field Community Garden

In order to increase diversity in the arboretum collection, within the past year twenty trees have been planted on the campus. These trees were either funded by the Kendal Charitable Funds grant or were generously donated. Also a tree nursery has been started in Kendal’s community garden. There are currently thirty-one young trees growing from several sources including wild-collected specimens.

Guidance and Education

The arboretum has been fortunate to have the attention of both local and prominent Midwestern tree experts for their guidance. The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin has also been hosting the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Tree Commission Academy as they provide a program designed to train and assist municipal tree commissions and other institutions in best practices in arboriculture.

Arbor Day

The guest speaker at the Arbor Day education forum was renowned plant pathologist Jim Chatfield, an Ohio State University Professor of Horticulture and Extension Service Specialist. He spoke on “Which Trees Matter: The Simple Science of Plant Selection?” There were over one hundred attendees, many of them visitors.

The Arbor Day Celebration was the grand opening of The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin, and grand it was! There were speeches; a performance of Stones/Water/Time/Breath, a text score by composer Dean Rosenthal; a tree planting, and the children from the Kendal Early Learning Center sang “The Green Grass Grows All Around”. They then proclaimed together, “I Speak for the Trees” from Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax”.

Engagement in the Larger Community

Engagement with the community at large has been a key objective of the arboretum project. There is great pleasure in naming the following community partners.

  • City of Oberlin Public Works Department
  • Oberlin College Environmental Studies Department
  • Zion Community Development Corporation Community Garden Project
  • Ohio Department of Natural Resources Tree Commission Academy

How Do You Manage an Arboretum?

The work of The John Bartram Arboretum at Kendal at Oberlin is managed and supported by a resident driven Arboretum Committee, comprised of approximately twenty members, in collaboration with Kendal’s Facility Services Department.

It is the imagination, vision and tireless work of Kendal at Oberlin residents and other supporters who brought this dream to fruition.