A creative learning environment
President Trevor Colbourn established the UCF Arboretum in 1983. The Arboretum provides opportunities for students, staff, and visitors to explore and learn about the plant life and other natural wonders of our beautiful campus. We treat our campus as an outdoor living laboratory, which enables students to engage in relevant, experience-based learning. Our central location on main campus makes it easy for students and visitors to take advantage of our programs. We teach 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 UCF Arboretum features plants that occur throughout campus. Our campus landscapes feature beautiful plant varieties from around the world, and we use this wonderful variety to educate students, staff, and visitors about the origin, growing conditions, and appropriate care of these plants. Additionally, we work with the campus landscape architecture team to help create an outdoor campus environment that is vibrant and attractive. Our landscapes feature both native and introduced plants, and we emphasize using varieties that perform well under local conditions with minimal care.
Our precious natural lands
In addition to working with the campus landscape team, we also work with the campus natural resources team to manage and facilitate use of more than 800 acres of campus natural lands. The Arboretum works to ensure that these lands contribute to UCF’s academic, recreational and social programs. Every year, thousands of students and other community members take a break from their hectic schedules to 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 about our distinctive local ecosystems. Conservation motivates many of our efforts, and 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
The Arboretum has many activities related to plant production. We operate an organic community garden, which engages hundreds of student and community volunteers in thousands of volunteering hours every year. The garden produces a bounty of fresh vegetables, most of which we donate 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 Arboretum greenhouse is a state-of-the art facility that supports propagation of garden plants, provides space for class projects, and features hydroponic growing towers. Please explore our website to learn more about our exemplary programs. Take advantage of the many opportunities we provide to engage with campus landscapes, and to learn about our local environment. We welcome feedback, so please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you!