UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden


The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden serves the regional community as a living museum connecting people with the environment and the work of the UC Davis campus.

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Address: One Shields Ave
Davis, CA 95616
County or Parish: Yolo County
Primary NTEE: Environment 
Sub NTEE: Botanical Gardens & Arboreta 
Executive Director: Kathleen Socolofsky
Contact Email: arboretum@ucdavis.edu
Primary Phone: 530-752-4880
Website: http://arboretum.ucdavis.edu
The Arboretum and Public Garden is a major portal for sharing the academic riches of UC Davis with the regional community and promoting environmental responsibility. Over 100 acres of Arboretum demonstration gardens and plant collections - plus other campus landscapes - inspire children and adults about the natural world, demonstrate best practices for sustainable horticulture and provide scientific value to students, faculty and campus visitors. The mission of the Arboretum and Public Garden is expressed through a major initiative called the UC Davis GATEways Project (Gardens, Arts & the Environment) which links UC Davis student learning with public engagement through the diverse outdoor environments and free visitor programs.

The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden was founded in 1936 as the UC Davis Arboretum (arboretum.ucdavis.edu) to support education and research at the University of California at Davis. The Arboretum's collections are displayed in 100 acres of gardens along the old north fork of Putah Creek, and feature 60,000 plants representing almost 2,500 species and varieties from Mediterranean climate areas throughout the world. The collections represent an enormous repository of information on plants that grow and thrive in California's Central Valley, where summer heat, wind, heavy soils, drought, and often poor water quality pose challenges to gardeners. Demonstration gardens of California native plants and drought-tolerant flowering shrubs and perennials provide a public showcase of sustainable landscape design and plants appropriate for low-water-use gardens in the arid West.

In 1971, volunteers founded a community support group called the Friends of the Arboretum to help sustain and grow the gardens and collections. Until the 1980's, the Arboretum operated with a part-time faculty director and one professional staff member and the support of many community volunteers. In 1997, the university provided funds for the first full-time Arboretum director. We now have 22 career employees, over 100 student employees and interns each year, and a dedicated corps of over 180 community volunteers. In 2007, the Arboretum launched the Arboretum GATEways Project (Gardens, Arts, and The Environment), envisioning the Arboretum as an inviting campus portal and connection to academic activities, with educational landscapes, public art, outreach centers, interpretive exhibits, performance spaces, and gathering areas. In 2009, the campus included the project in the comprehensive master planning framework for campus as the UC Davis GATEways Project. In 2011, the UC Davis Arboretum entered an exciting new collaboration. The Arboretum, the campus Grounds and Landscape Services, and the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve were integrated into a single operating unit to create the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. World-renowned botanist Dr. Peter Raven joined us for a planning meeting to launch the merger. Today, the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden continues to realize the vision of the university campus as an innovative and transformative resource for the region and serves as a model for universities, botanic gardens, and museums nation-wide through the GATEways Project.
The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden has always been committed to planting California native plants and other plants that provide habitat to our important native pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Due to urban expansion, many pollinators are facing increased challenges and are becoming ever more dependent on home gardens for habitat and food. At the Arboretum, we are in the middle of the largest garden expansion in decades with the addition of new hummingbird and pollinator gardens at the west end of the Arboretum to showcase pollinator-attracting plants and practices and illustrate how home gardeners can create pollinator-friendly environments in their own yard. Our top need this year is to use these new gardens as a starting point to expand our public education programs about pollinator-gardening. This priority is the centerpiece of our two-week community "Gardens POP for Pollinators" campaign which concludes on Big Day of Giving 2018. The new programs funded by Big Day of Giving gifts will touch the lives of thousands of community members who visit the Arboretum and help foster appreciation and action to support native pollinators. The "Gardens POP for Pollinators" community campaign will run from April 20 through May 3, 2018. The goal: raise $70,000 in two weeks in community donations to fund pollinator education programs, a new bicycle-powered mobile education center, and a new student team focused on pollinator gardening this year. Thank you for considering a gift to the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden's Big Day of Giving community campaign!
Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Gifts of any size to the "Gardens POP for Pollinators" campaign will help enhance our education programs about pollinator-friendly gardening, fund a new bicycle-powered discovery cart for public education activities throughout the Arboretum and support a team of student leaders to provide ongoing care for the Arboretum's pollinator-attracting gardens.
  2. Funding: Unrestricted - Unrestricted gifts and memberships in the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum provide critical support each year.
  3. Funding: Other - Endowment or planned gifts can support the Arboretum gardens and programs to create a lasting legacy.
  4. Volunteers - Volunteers can help with garden enhancement projects during community planting days.
  5. Board Members - The Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum seeks people with fundraising and community outreach experience to serve on the Board.
"Can you imagine how many people the Arboretum has touched in its 80 year history? Children, families, students of all ages, scientists, landscape professionals, home gardeners, and many others have benefited from the Arboretum's extraordinary education programs and renowned public gardens. The Arboretum and Public Garden is committed to practicing, promoting, and teaching about sustainable horticulture through public education. With water and environmental issues at the forefront of news, the Arboretum is uniquely positioned to help everyone make Valley-Wise garden choices that conserve water, support native wildlife, create beautiful eco-friendly landscapes, and grow a greener future. Our Arboretum All-Stars program promotes 100 reliable, easy-to-grow plants for California landscapes. Our plant sales are important educational events for home gardeners who want to "go green."

The Arboretum's plant collections are also an important scientific resource. Faculty and staff from UC Davis departments and many outside institutions use the Arboretum for research. Arboretum staff are leading a nationwide team of botanical garden and zoo information technology experts in building a Geographic Information System (GIS) data model to help make botanical collections accessible to conservation scientists worldwide. Over 300 zoos and botanical gardens are involved in the project. The Arboretum and Public Garden's education programs inform and inspire visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Programs for children and families offer an alternative to "screen time" and help develop the next generation of environmental leaders. Young people and their families enjoy Arboretum Adventures, hands-on explorations of local wildlife and traditional native plant knowledge led by faculty and students. We are so grateful to the our donors, members, volunteers, Friends support group, community partners, and campus leaders who have helped shape the Arboretum into what it is today. If you haven't visited the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden lately, we invite you to come explore and experience the wonderful gardens and programs."

Kathleen Socolofsky
Director
UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden