President Trevor Colbourn established the Arboretum in 1983 to provide opportunities for students, staff, and visitors to explore and learn about plant life and other natural wonders of the natural lands
A Creative Learning Environment
We treat our campus as an outdoor living laboratory, which enables students to engage in relevant, experience-based learning. Students learn hands-on skills, such as plant propagation and identification, vegetable gardening, and horticultural techniques. We also provide opportunities for more advanced academic skills, such as setting up experiments, analyzing data, and working with geographic information and other data systems.
Rather than maintain a separate plant collection in a specified area, the Arboretum features plants that occur throughout campus. Our campus landscapes feature beautiful plant varieties from around the world, which is used to educate students, staff, and visitors. Additionally, we work with the campus landscape architecture team to help create an outdoor campus environment that is vibrant and attractive. The landscapes feature both native and introduced plants, and we emphasize using varieties that perform well under local conditions with minimal care.
We also work with the campus natural resources team to manage and facilitate use of more than 800 acres of campus natural lands. These lands contribute to UCF’s academic, recreational and social programs. Every year, thousands of students and other community members take a break and explore our nature trails and relax while being surrounded by natural splendor. Equally important, our campus natural areas provide an opportunity for people to learn about our distinctive local ecosystems. Driven by conservation, we manage our lands to support native communities and to provide critical habitat for several threatened species, such as the gopher tortoise. We are especially proud of our prescribed fire program, which reduces wild fire risks, and helps sustain viable natural habitats.
Plant and Garden Production
We operate an organic community garden, which engages hundreds of volunteers for thousands of volunteering hours every year. The garden produces a bounty of fresh vegetables, most of which is donated to the Knights Helping Knights Pantry. We partner with Wellness and Health Promotion Services and the Knights Pantry to support Fresh U, a campus-wide program that addresses food security and sustainability. Our Greenhouse is a state-of-the art facility that supports propagation of garden plants, provides space for class projects, and features hydroponic growing towers. We look forward to seeing you!