An arboretum is a place where trees, plants, and shrubs are identified and maintained for their educational and aesthetic value. At St. Mary's College, more than 300 acres of developed and undeveloped land showcase a variety of southern Maryland plant life. Land and water come together here; plants large and small help to maintain and filter soil and waters flowing into the St. Mary's River, and the river's currents and wildlife in turn influence what thrives along the shoreline and surrounding acreage.
Generations of students have come to this place to obtain a liberal arts education, which promotes a commitment to lifelong learning. What they study in the arts, sciences, and humanities we hope produces an appreciation for the unique landscape that is St. Mary's. Here, one is struck daily by the interconnected elements of water, sky, and shoreline, an awareness that can foster a concern for the natural environment that will inform our graduates' beliefs and actions in subsequent years wherever they choose to live.
The St. Mary's Arboretum will begin the labeling of trees and plantings on campus grounds; will continue to identify, create and protect habitats for native animals and plants (as a designated Audubon International site); and will commit to planting primarily native species to support birds and beneficial insect populations. We propose to manage our campus acres so as to nurture and instruct young and old, teachers, students, staff, and neighbors. Plantings will reflect a goal of building collections for scientific study as well as aesthetic appreciation, with sustainable maintenance and ecological awareness as guiding principles in what we do.
Since the St. Mary's College of Maryland acres are contiguous with Historic St. Mary's City and St. Mary's Parish grounds, we pledge to work with these neighboring organizations on shared goals wherever possible. The St. Mary's Arboretum wishes to work with many partners in our state to help Marylanders protect and beautify the natural environment that surrounds us and gives us such a unique and special home.
Towards this end we plan to:
-Label representative trees and plants on lands cared for by St. Mary's College of Maryland and pay particular attention to increasing collections helpful to our faculty in classroom work;
-Identify what rain garden areas, meadowlands, ponds, marshes, forests, etc. provide and represent for healthy plant, animal, and human populations;
-Work with students in the classroom and in volunteer activities to broaden their understanding and appreciation for our unique ecology, as well as build environmentally friendly spaces with their help, with the goal of ‘active learning’ opportunities whenever possible;
-Create self-guided walking tours that highlight distinctive trees and plants, and lead instructional tours occasionally for increased public awareness and appreciation;
-Continue our commitment to green initiatives on this campus as we improve our physical plant and grounds;
-Sponsor public lectures and workshops that will increase community awareness and responsible stewardship of southern Maryland’s landscape and waterways;
-Partner with other organizations in our state and region that do similar work to support and better extend efforts in promoting environmental awareness in St. Mary's County.
The St. Mary's Arboretum pledges to recognize, protect, and celebrate the unique, natural home we share in beautiful southern Maryland.