2021 - Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Tour












The Dunbar Spring neighborhood near campus is a wonderful example of sustainable practices for urban landscaping. They have built a community of neigborhood stewards who have planted more than 1600 native trees and shrubs, harvested millions of gallons of rainwater to irrigate the landscapes and reduce downstream flooding, and gathered resources to educate and inspire those in their own and other neighborhoods. Led by rainwater harvesting guru, Brad Lancaster, they call themselves the "Dunbar Spring Neighborhood Forester" and we admire and commend their inspiring work. 


To support their work, the Campus Arboretum, with donor support, hired an undergraduate student to work with the neighborhood foresters to create educational resources that empower and inspire planting, care, and use of urban trees. The culmination of this work is a tour of the neighborhood trees, facilitated by QR coded signs and accessible as either a self-guided mobile tour or fully remote via the web.


To take the self-guided mobile tour:

Begin the mobile tour by referencing the map image with plant names/locations. Begin anywhere  - directional arrows are suggestions for mobile participants. Locate the QR coded sign (see image on the right margin). Use your mobile device (ie. your phone camera or QR code reader app) to access the web based content for that species. Learn and repeat!


To participate in the tour remotely:

Begin the educational exercise by selecting a species name from the plant list below and clicking on the associated hyperlink. Read the web based content for that species. Return to this landing page to select another species. Repeat!









Plant List:



Jamie Rike, B.S. in Biosystems Engineering,  Class of 2021 researched information on 10 native species found in the Dunbar Spring neigborhood. Ultimately, she created 10 web pages describing the botanical characteristics, sustainable management in the approriate water harvesting zone, harvesting practices, and practical uses of the produce each species provides. She then designed and had signs produced with QR codes that link back to these web pages. The signs are now installed in the community neighborhood allowing visitors and residents to walk around and scan the signs to learn on site about each plant. Additionally, Jamie created the interactive mobile tour accessed through a QR coded interpretive sign that links to the content above to leads the user through the content about each plant. We are delighted to connect with these wonderful neighbors and thankful for the training provided to another Campus Arboretum intern. 



In summer 2022, The Dunbar Spring neighborhood received additional signage linking to information for native Sonoran species located throughout the neighborhood. Arboretum student interns created QR coded signs for previously unmarked species and installed these on signposts within the Dunbar Spring Neighborhood. Installation of these additional signs was the final step to completing the virtual tour, initiated by former Campus Arboretum student, Jamie Rike. Some of the species included in the effort to provide additional signage included, Mormon tea, Engelmann's prickly pear, and pincushion cactus. On the day of the installation, students met and learned from water-harvesting guru and Neighborhood Forester leader, Brad Lancaster. Students learned of the various ways stormwater runoff is passively collected in neighborhood basins – converting “nuisance” stormwater into an irrigation asset! He shared the advantages of rainwater harvesting and how it can be beneficial for supplementing and replacing neighborhood irrigation while also reducing urban erosion. The Dunbar Spring Neighborhood is a leading example of how water, sun, and shade can be harvested by harnessing the conditions of an arid environment in order to create a more sustainable and reliable way of living. Created by a previous arboretum student and expanded by current arboretum students, the Dunbar Neighborhood Tour is a valuable resource for responsibly managing, harvesting, and using the natural resources of our region.




July, 2021