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.

Show All
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 1980s, 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 50 student employees and interns each year, and a dedicated corps of over 160 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 a big, exciting project in progress: a restoration and enhancement of the Arboretum waterway. This project is our top priority this year and the centerpiece of a two-week community Waterway WOW Campaign which concludes on Big Day of Giving 2017. As part of a multi-year effort, a major portion of the Arboretum waterway will be transformed from a stagnant, weedy pond into a vibrant cascading watercourse bordered by a tapestry of native plants and the Arboretum's premier gardens and plant collections. The renovation effort will benefit hundreds of thousands of community members who visit the Arboretum each year for education and recreation and dramatically improve the wildlife habitat value of the waterway. The Waterway WOW community campaign will run from April 21 through May 4, 2017. The goal: raise $50,000 in two weeks in community donations to support the waterway enhancement project this year. Gifts from individuals during the Waterway WOW campaign will fund the addition of over 6,000 plants to re-vegetate the borders of the waterway and support a new student leadership team to care for the waterway. Other infrastructure parts of the project are being funded by UC Davis deferred maintenance funds. Thank you for considering a gift to the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden's Waterway WOW community campaign!

Our top needs:
  1. Funding: Program - Gifts of any size to the Waterway WOW campaign will help provide plants to renovate the waterway banks and support a team of student leaders to provide ongoing care for the Arboretum waterway.
  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 waterway or other gardens or programs to create a lasting legacy.
  4. Volunteers - Volunteers can help with the waterway enhancement project 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 benefitted 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