Midland University - Fremont, Ne

Midland Campus Honored by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

Midland Campus Honored by Nebraska Statewide Arboretum

Nov 4th , 2011

Midland University’s campus Heritage Arboretum was recognized this fall with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s (NSA) Affiliate Excellence Award. Presented annually, the award recognizes an outstanding commitment to developing, maintaining and seeking community engagement.

The campus arboretum boasts more than 700 specimens, including a wide variety of oak, maple, pine and linden trees, as well as ornamental trees and shrubs. Unique varieties such as the Chinese Ash and Mongolian Oak were grown from seeds that came from Beijing and Mongolia, and were chosen because those regions share similar soil profiles and latitude as Fremont. The campus is also home to prairie vegetation that is part of a Great Plains studies effort.

The arboretum has been integrated into biology and education courses taught by Midland faculty, and offers opportunities for students to be part of a national research project by documenting and tracking annual tree growth. Several area nurseries gather seeds from Midland’s arboretum each fall.

“The Midland Heritage Arboretum is the result of a long-term vision and a strong partnership with the community and volunteers,” said Dr. Gary Carlson, arboretum curator. “Students and visitors today benefit from the atmosphere created by hundreds of mature trees on campus, and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum has been a great partner in helping plan and grow our collection. I want to thank our partners and the many volunteers over the years who have given their time to help maintain our arboretum and plan for the future.”

The Midland campus was left nearly bare of trees in the 1960’s in the wake of Dutch Elm disease. A significant planting effort was begun in the 1980’s with assistance from the NSA’s community landscape improvement program. More than 150 trees and shrubs were planted between 1988 and 1989, to begin reviving the campus landscape and add diversity.

Dr. Carlson has overseen the collection since 1995. Now retired, he is joined by campus and community volunteers in maintaining and expanding the arboretum. Known as the Midland Heritage Arboretum, many of the trees in the collection were donated to honor individuals or were planted to mark special events. Among them is a grove of trees dedicated in 2008 as the Carlson Grove in tribute to Dr. Carlson’s work and long-time commitment to improving the Midland campus.

Information for a self-guided tour of the Midland Heritage Arboretum is available in the Luther Library, and group tours can be arranged by calling the university at 402-941-6516.

Dr. Carlson said, “Many trees are at their peak for fall color right now. This is a good time to visit the Midland campus and take a walk with the family.”