Self Guided Tours



Few places in Tucson rival the serenity of the University of Arizona main campus on a weekend or early morning. The landscape ethos communicates unrivaled vitality and an equivalent calm that needs to be experienced! Perhaps you have felt it. Have you wondered in amazement at the diversity and beauty of the trees on the campus grounds? Collectively, these trees have a rich history rooted in our Land Grant Mission and individually, they also each have an interesting story to learn.


In an effort to promote stewardship and conservation of almost 8000 of these historic and botanically diverse trees, the UA Campus Arboretum hosts a variety of outreach and educational programs that extend university science and expertise to communities throughout the state. Our impact begins with the ubiquitous botanical signage installed throughout the grounds targeting every campus resident and visitor but extends further through our online resources to benefit the whole world.


Since the recognition of the campus as an arboretum in 2002, more than 550 botanical signs have been installed to promote understanding of their diversity and history. The wide distribution of these signs creates a compelling opportunity to leverage our expertise in urban ecological sustainability through detailed interpretation of sustainability initiatives on campus. To this end, we installed new interpretive signs embedded with Quick-Response (QR) codes that allow mobile users direct access to a wide range of content online. With generous support from the UA Green Fund, and significant contributions from Campus Arboretum donors, we were able to fund the removal, repair, redesign, and restallation of nearly 550 new signs. Students also created web content describing almost half of the species in our campus collection and added nearly 3000 new stunning photographs. The signs, along with additional web content and images allowed for the creation of mobile tours that supplement our docent-guided tours. To learn how to use the QR coded signs or take a mobile-guided-tour, see the help sheet below. 


Other resources for you to explore online include an interactive map to help you locate and ID campus trees, a plant selection tool to help you find the right plant for your site and terrific guided tours provided by the Pima Co. Master Gardeners and other volunteers. The campus tree tours highlight a variety of important trees and reveal principles of particular relevance to our communities including: working with edible and medicinal plants in the landscape, exploring the uses of Sonoran native plants, and conquering the challenges of landscape management in the southwest, among many others. These tours are offered according to a regular schedule or by special request. For convenience, there are also self-guided tour booklets available for you to print (online) or to check out (from 101 Herring Hall). 






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