Concept Statement

University of Arizona Campus Arboretum 

Concept Statement



This document describes the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum, defines its mission, and briefly states the principles that will guide our intents through the years of full development.



Webster defines an arboretum as “a space for the scientific study and public display of various species of trees and shrubs”.   The University of Arizona campus has over 400 different tree species from around the world, and a comparable number of shrubs.  The 125-year-old collection is valuable for its breadth, its age and the rarity of dozens of individual species.  The grounds are used for instruction, research and outreach.



The University of Arizona Arboretum comprises all space on which the University has developed facilities: the Main Campus from Euclid to Campbell Avenue and from Sixth Street north, across Speedway, to the space surrounding the University Medical Center.  All plantings adjoining UA buildings or defining University open space, in Pima County, Arizona, may be considered as a part of the University of Arizona Arboretum.



The UA Campus Arboretum is a living laboratory promoting stewardship and conservation of urban trees through research, education and outreach. 



The University of Arizona Campus Arboretum is administered by a Director. This position is housed (temporarily) within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  (It is anticipated that the office would be an inter-unit collaboration, possibly including Campus and Facilities Planning, Facilities Maintenance, or under Vice President for Business Affairs.) 

The Director will, at a minimum, require assistance of a half-time office staff person, one full time Grounds person, one volunteer coordinator, and undergraduate/graduate student help.    The Director is currently assisted by these groups:

Campus Steering Committee - made up of faculty and staff from several academic and service units.  Members provide on-site expertise, support ongoing landscape efforts, represent the interests of the Arboretum on campus, and work to use University resources to implement the goals defined by the Mission Statement.

Advisory Board - composed of alumni, Tucson citizens, and other interested parties.  These off-campus individuals provide assistance with long range planning, project design and implementation, public relations, advocacy, and financial support.


*The Concept Statement was developed by University of Arizona Campus Arboretum Committee with assistance from University of Arizona Campus Arboretum Advisory Board

August, 2001with revisions in 2010 and 2011.



The following Principles guide the Intent and Objectives of the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum.


The University of Arizona is first, and foremost, an EDUCATIONAL institution.

  • Correctly identify and label all tree species
  • Utilize the campus plants in formal University of Arizona classes
  • Support the use of campus plants in University research projects
  • Foster student awareness and support of campus beauty
  • Support visitor experience with opportunities to learn about campus trees
  • Partner with UA Cooperative Extension in utilizing the campus as a resource
  • Encourage correct arboricultural maintenance techniques
  • Support Grounds staff in their tree care duties


Preserving University of Arizona HERITAGE honors the founding educators and their vision.

  • Preserve the Historic District on the University of Arizona campus.
  • Preserve trees integral to the heritage of the UA campus
  • Interpret early efforts at beautifying the campus


STEWARDSHIP of campus trees adds to the University’s national reputation.

  • Maintain accession, botanical, geographic, and curatorial records on all trees
  • Advocate respect for the University of Arizona landscape as a whole
  • Promote stewardship of genetic resources by pro-active propagation and replacement
  • Safeguard and showcase “heritage trees” planted by former faculty and students     
  • Enhance collection according to a well-defined Collections Policy 
  • Advise on new construction landscaping
  • Maintain health of woody plants by means of correct arboricultural techniques 


The campus landscape AESTHETIC attracts new students, engenders alumni loyalty and rewards the University’s campus community.

  • Recognize that mature trees are an integral part of campus open spaces
  • Showcase unique trees from arid climates around the world
  • Preserve and improve shady retreats and open spaces
  • Advocate for landscaping that is in scale with buildings   
  • Maintain beauty of woody plants using correct arboricultural techniques


Developing regional and global SUSTAINABILITY standards supports the reputation of the University of Arizona as a leader in environmental stewardship by defining and modeling sustainable landscapes.

  • Collaborate in research to determine the economic value of University tree collection
  • Encourage world-class tree selections appropriate for new buildings                      
  • Display plants that reflect Tucson’s desert setting
  • Advocate for increased use of trees to reduce reflected heat, shade western exposures, reduce stormwater runoff, and assist with sustainable building efforts

The grounds of The University of Arizona can be a valuable asset in COMMUNITY RELATIONS / OUTREACH efforts.

  • Enhance the University of Arizona’s responsible presence in the community
  • Create special events that showcase the tree collection
  • Maintain web sites to stimulate interest and support
  • Partner with neighborhood groups on pertinent topics
  • Foster volunteer enthusiasm
  • Promote alumni donations to the University of Arizona Campus Arboretum
  • Encourage planned giving and external financial support


COLLABORATION is a method for success.

  • Support the student learning experience as a first priority at the University of Arizona
  • Recognize that campus expansion is a “given”
  • Work with Office of Campus and Facilities Planning
  • Assist the UA Alumni Association in Heritage Projects
  • Collaborate with Office of Community Relations in outreach efforts
  • Collaborate with the Boyce Thompson SW Arboretum, also administered by UA
  • Partner with the Desert Legume Program in introducing appropriate plant material
  • Assist the UA Foundation in garnering financial support
  • Work cooperatively with Facilities Design and Construction
  • Cooperate with Facilities Maintenance in their work
  • Assist the Visitor Center and the Orientation Office
  • Partner with UA Cooperative Extension
  • Collaborate with Tucson’s Office of City/Neighborhood Community Services
  • Participate in the UA Campus Sustainability efforts


















reviewed August 2005 – still very good and applicable.

given to new Advisory Board members, Spring 2006 and again January 2008.

Minor edits, August 2010.

Mission statement revised 2011.