Arboretum

 

About

The Arboretum of SUNY Adirondack is a two-acre, 112-specimen tree and shrub garden located on the north end of the 640 Bay Road, Queensbury campus. Established in 1992, it consists of native and non-native woody plants donated to the college by interested individuals and groups.  Built entirely by volunteers and private funds, these plants stand to honor the contributions of faculty and staff and the memory of loved ones. The arboretum started as a small experiment and soon turned into a beautiful, fully treed expanse of landscape.

The specimens were selected to represent a wide variety of trees that the casual observer might not encounter.  In this respect, the arboretum serves as an educational display, an idea bank for the gardener/home owner, an experiment in viability and finally a pleasant place to stroll and reflect.  All of the specimens are labeled with the common and scientific name. In addition each tree is labeled with the name of the person to whom it was dedicated.  A printable list of specimens and a numbered map allow the visitor a self-guided tour.

Download a list of specimens HERE.

Download the map HERE.

The arboretum is open from sunrise to sunset every day. There is no admission fee. Parking is in the college's north parking lot. (When college classes are in session, the lot can be quite full.)

The arboretum is maintained by volunteers. If you would like to help take care of this unique resource, contact the college. No experience is necessary, just an enthusiasm for trees.

For more information, call the college Director of Facilities at 518.734.2246.


History

In 1992, Greg Greene, a local landscape contractor and SUNY Adirondack adjunct instructor, and Dave Hodgson, Professor of Biology, were looking at the expanse of lawn on the northwest end of the campus and thought that there could be a better use of that space. Since both had an interest in trees and there were no adequate tree gardens in this area, it was only logical that they proposed an arboretum for the Adirondack college campus.

They immediately envisioned a slope full of native and exotic species, not native to this area but hardy to the climate. A manicured, labeled distribution of beautiful evergreens and deciduous trees offering the college and the Greater Glens Falls communities a place to study and enjoy the presence of unusual plants. Starting down a path that will probably occupy most of their adult lives, Greg and Dave marked out the walkways and procured a couple of trees for the first planting. They immediately ran into the perennial problem of funding.

In May of 1993, the first monetary donation of any kind came from the SUNY Adirondack Foundation. The $200 not only gave encouragement, it allowed the rental of a Bobcat loader for a day. They excavated the walkways and stockpiled the rich topsoil on the edge of the north parking lot. Everyone wondered what was going on! The idea had taken on a physical presence.

The topsoil was traded to Scott McLaughlin (a local excavation contractor) for Item 4 gravel walkway base. The gravel was spread and topped with Blue Stone donated by Peckham Materials. The walkways were ready for visitors.

That first $200 multiplied itself hundreds of times in dollar value, not including all of the volunteer labor that finished the walks and planted the first 12 trees.

The pressing need at that point was for proper signage to mark the area and encourage visitors. Contributions of trees at that time were easier to obtain than cash. Once again the SUNY Adirondack Foundation stepped up. They provided “seed” money that stimulated a flow of funds that propelled the Arboretum to the next stage in its development.  Soon we had a small roadside sign announcing the Arboretum.

The gravel walkway proved to be a major headache with the growth of weeds and erosion from storm runoff. The College had hired a paving contractor to do some work on the college property and that contractor volunteered to pave the Arboretum walks for a discounted price. Now the weeds and erosion are a thing of the past. 

We currently have about 112 labeled specimens, large rock Abenches@, paved walks and a maturing, labeled expanse of trees and shrubs.  We have a small monetary reserve account, handled by the SUNY Adirondack Foundation, that finances the maintenance of the arboretum.  (Kim Thomas and Mary Brandt were instrumental in setting up the accounting procedures that insured cash donations were deposited and expended properly.)  In 2009 the SUNY Adirondack Board of Trustees, at the urging of President Ron Heacock, passed a Resolution protecting and maintaining the Arboretum as an important part of the College campus.


Special thanks to the following people and groups who were initially instrumental in taking an idea and making it real:

  • Greg Green
  • Sutton's Farm Market
  • Watkin's Nursery and Greenhouse
  • Brad Underwood
  • Mike McLaughlin
  • Andy Scarpellino
  • Debra and Jeffrey Foss
  • ACC Foundation
  • Faculty/Student Assoc. of ACC
  • Adirondack Broadcast Assn.
  • Faculty Assn. of ACC

Current volunteers:

  • Dave Hodgson, Emeritus Professor of Biology
  • James Hunt, Certified Arborist, Owner, Tree Care by Stan Hunt
  • Anthony Palangi, Director of Facilities
  • Dr. Tim Scherbatskoy, Associate Professor of Biology       

Operating Procedures

Financial Considerations
All of the cash flow is handled by  the SUNY Adirondack Foundation. Donations designated for the Arboretum are to be deposited in a Foundation investment account. Volunteers’ expenses are to be reimbursed by the Foundation upon presentation of a receipt. Reimbursement will not include sales tax. A sales tax exemption form for presentation to the vendor should be obtained from the Foundation office before any purchases.

Purchasing Replacement Trees and Materials
Since little planting space remains, only replacement specimens will be purchased for planting.  Any current specimen that expires will be replaced with the same or similar species. Specimens should be purchased locally. Other materials (tools, plaques, fertilizer, sprays) should be cleared with the Director of Facilities before purchase and use.

 Planting Trees
The Director of Facilities can aid in removing dead stumps. Once stumps are removed, new specimens can be planted in the vacated position. If a root disease is suspected, planting the replacement in another spot is recommended. Changing locations is also recommended for crowding and sun exposure issues.

Map and Master List Update
Any changes to the plant population of the arboretum should be updated on the Map and the Master List of the Arboretum. The Map and Master List documents are in AutoCad and Word format, respectively. The Director of Facilities has the software needed to update these files. The numbered positions on the Map correspond to the numbers on the Master List.  In addition, the plaques labeling the specimens should be updated and replaced as needed. Plaques can be obtained from various local sign/engraving shops.

Pruning and Disease
Pruning and an examination of the trees should be done at least twice a year (spring and fall). A small group of volunteers guided by an expert Arborist should prune for dead and diseased branches and to properly shape the specimen.  An analysis of the specimens for disease (insects, bacteria, fungus, etc.) and a plan of treatment should follow from the Arborist.  Dead and pruned branches can by collected by the grounds crew under the direction of the Director of Facilities.

Plaque Placement and Maintenance
Plaques are placed on all dedicated trees. They give the common and scientific name of the specimen and to whom the tree is dedicated.  The wording of the dedication indicates whether the person is living or passed away. The plaques should be attached to the trunk of the specimen using Tree Tacks whenever possible.  These Tree Tacks should be pulled slightly out of the trunk twice a year to allow for increases in trunk diameter. The aluminum plaque stakes should only be used when the Tree Tacks are impractical.  The stakes should be monitored for damage and loss.

Volunteer Personnel and Director of Facilities
Volunteers will coordinate activities with the Director of Facilities. Expert advice from certified arborists or others should drive any maintenance activities in the arboretum.