In July 2011, all of UC Davis' land-based operational units: the Arboretum, Grounds and Landscape Services and the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve merged to create the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. These teams are transforming our campus outdoor spaces by creating visitor-centered, sustainable landscapes to support academic teaching and research and coupling them with outreach programs designed to engage and educate the campus and regional community.
Our purpose is to inspire human potential to help people and environments thrive!
The Arboretum and Public Garden includes the historic Arboretum – a 100-plus acre campus and regional amenity comprised of demonstration gardens and scientific collections – the Putah Creek Riparian Reserve – a rare stream and grassland ecosystem managed for teaching, research, wildlife and habitat protection – and the rest of our 5300-acre campus.
As specialists in sustainable landscape management and public engagement, and in support of our university’s environmental science expertise, we operate these areas as outdoor museums and living laboratories. Each holds opportunities for engaging and inspiring students to become environmental leaders, for the public to learn about the importance of sustainable gardening practices, for visitors to informally explore the academic richness of UC Davis and so much more!
What makes us different...
- We highlight the academic richness of UC Davis through our landscapes.
- Since 2006, we have co-created innovative gardens and programs in partnership with academic departments, students, and community members through the UC Davis GATEways Project (Gardens, Arts, and The Environment). Here we invite the public to learn about the diverse academic work of UC Davis by visiting our GATEway gardens that focus on disciplines such as geology, animal science, Native American studies, hummingbird health and more.
- We collaborate with environmental agencies, faculty and scientists locally and internationally on research and teaching.
- As a living museum, we maintain careful records on plants in the Arboretum's collection. Researchers in a variety of fields use these plant collections to study natural pest control, evolutionary relationships, plant disease and more. Other researchers study wildlife, water quality, the history of the site, or the ways people use the gardens.
- We demonstrate and share best practices in sustainable horticulture with the public.
- The Arboretum is home to over 20 different gardens featuring plants from California and countries with similar summer-dry climates across the globe where visitors can learn about best practices in sustainable horticulture. In addition, several times each year, the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden invite the public to our one-acre Arboretum Teaching Nursery to shop our seasonal plant sale fundraisers for an incredible selection of the same attractive, low-water, easy-care, regionally-appropriate plants you find in our gardens.
- We engage our community to co-create in the design, creation and care of our gardens.
- Hundreds of community volunteers and nearly 100 student interns are involved in every aspect of the creation, care and maintenance of our Arboretum and Public Garden. We offer long and short-term volunteer opportunities, community members can participate in the design and long-range development of this community resource, and students in our innovative Learning by Leading™program can participate in the design and creation of a variety of campus landscape conversion and natural area restoration projects, create and lead environmental educational events and more.
- We provide students and community members with the resources and experience necessary to tackle environmental leadership issues of worldwide significance.
- As world-leading environmental science university, we manage our outdoor spaces as a reflection of our expertise and as a resource for research, teaching and public engagement. Through our Learning by Leading™ program, we invite students and community members to lead efforts to create a healthier environment and a more sustainable world.
- We plan for the future and advise local and campus leaders on best practices to address climate change.
- We are committed to environmentally responsible landscape management. Our team is working closely with campus planning leadership to develop a 70-year plan to allow us to transition the landscapes of UC Davis to become climate-ready. This Living Landscape Adaptation Plan will help our professional staff adapt campus landscapes to the likely impacts of climate change, dwindling water supplies, aging plant populations and plant health threats.