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MSU ‘Ozarks Arboretum’ earns accreditation for meeting plant education

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The master plan graphic depicts many of the 185 trees in Missouri State University's Ozarks Arboretum at Mountain Grove.

The master plan graphic depicts many of the 185 trees in Missouri State University’s Ozarks Arboretum at Mountain Grove.

MOUNTAIN GROVE, Mo. – The Missouri State University Ozarks Arboretum at Mountain Grove has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum.

The accreditation is in recognition of the arboretum achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

“The Ozarks Arboretum is a valuable plant education feature at Mountain Grove,” says Dr. Ronald Del Vecchio, director of the Darr School of Agriculture at MSU. Del Vecchio began his tenure at MSU on Sept. 1, 2016, succeeding Anson Elliott, who retired last fall.

The interdisciplinary project involved students and personnel from agriculture, biology, geology, geography and planning, as well as the Ozarks Environmental and Water Resources Institute and the Missouri State Fruit Experiment Station, Del Vecchio added.

The Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.

“Now the project has come to fruition with its accreditation by ArbNet and its listing in the Morton Register. We are proud of this accomplishment and appreciate everyone’s efforts in the collaborative venture,” explains Del Vecchio.

About the Ozarks Aboretum

Dr. Ronald Del Vecchio

Dr. Ronald Del Vecchio

The Ozarks Arboretum, part of the Darr School of Agriculture, is dedicated to environmental education and public appreciation of nature. This living plant collection is located on the grounds of the Missouri State campus at Mountain Grove, a 190-acre campus and field research area on the Ozarks Plateau in rural south-central Missouri.

The tree collection has 185 specimens with over 80 species representing 24 different plant families. It includes some unusual examples for southern Missouri such as balsam fir and several old growth trees including a large Tulip Tree, Linden Tree and American Holly. A tree map keyed to index trees in the arboretum is available. You can view the map online here.

The arboretum occupies 12-acres of the campus, which includes Faurot Hall, the original administration building of the State Fruit Experiment Station listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is used for public education and enjoyment.

The Ozarks Arboretum is a great place for those who wish to learn to identify trees adapted to Missouri, according to Del Vecchio.

The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, which has four levels of accreditation, is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity and professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science, planting and conservation.

ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. ArbNet facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience and other resources to help arboreta meet their institutional goals and works to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program.

The accreditation program, sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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