The Springfield Botanical Gardens has achieved accreditation through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, recognizing the garden for achieving standards of professional practices for arboretums.
The Springfield Botanical Gardens, in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, are now among 159 gardens in the world — six in Missouri — accredited by ArbNet, the only global initiative to officially recognize arboretums at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. The gardens are ranked Level II out of four levels, based on the diversity of trees, policies and standards of professionalism, the number of staff and volunteers and commitment to public programming and education, research and conservation.
The Springfield-Greene County Park Board founded the 112-acre Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park in 1976, and the park has featured themed gardens and botanical collections since the mid 1980s. The park includes mature indigenous hackberry, redbud, Osage orange and shagbark hickory, black walnut, black cherry and oak trees.
Mizumoto Japanese Stroll Garden, established in the park in 1985, is home to less common trees, including weeping Norway spruce, weeping white pine, blue Atlas cedar and several species of non-native cherry trees.
The Springfield Botanical Gardens, built and maintained in partnership with the Friends of the Garden, also include established collections of dogwood, redbud, vibernum, dwarf conifer, magnolia, black gum, maple and other trees and woody plants. In addition to trees, the park features dozens of themed gardens, including an American Hemerocallis Society Certified Display Garden (daylilies) and American Hosta Society Certified Display Garden. The park is recognized by the American Rose Society and the North American Japanese Garden Association.
“Going through the arboretum accreditation process helps us identify our strengths and weaknesses as a community asset, and allows us to compare ourselves with peer institutions across the country,” said Katie Keith, Botanical Center Coordinator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board.
“As part of a CAPRA-accredited park system, there is a culture of excellence across the park facilities in Springfield. I hope the ArbNet accreditation will be a source of pride for our garden supporters and be an additional tool for executing the park’s master plan.”
The ArbNet accreditation would not have been possible without completion of the Springfield Botanical Gardens tree inventory in June 2016. The inventory, funded through a grant from Missouri Department of Conservation, identified and graded more than 2,400 trees in Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park. The inventory may be viewed at springfieldparksmo.mytreekeeper.com.
For more information on ArbNet accreditation, visit arbnet.org.
For more information on Springfield Botanical Gardens, contact Katie Keith, Botanical Center Coordinator, at 417-874-2947 or e-mail Katie Keith. For media inquiries, contact Jenny Fillmer Edwards, Public Information Administrator for the Springfield-Greene County Park Board, at 417-874-2943 or 417-224-5510, or email Jenny Edwards.