Bryan Arboretum wins state certification

June 3, 2014

sanders2Bryan College has joined a small family of East Tennessee institutions boasting certified arboretums with its recent recognition by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council and the state Department of Agriculture’s Division of Forestry.

Dr. Roger Sanders examines one of the
tree plaques in the Bryan Arboretum. Dr. Roger Sanders, associate professor of science and assistant director of the Center for Origins Research, said the Level I arboretum is one of 10 such centers between Chattanooga and Knoxville. Three other arboretums in the same area have received Level III or Level IV certification.

Dr. Sanders led an effort during the past two years or more to meet Level I criteria, including identifying a minimum of 30 different species of trees, labeling the plants with their correct names, demonstrating care for the plants using good arborist techniques, and showing appropriate landscape management techniques. “That means, for example, that when we cut the grass we don’t harm the trees,” he said.

“When we applied for certification we had to be inspected to show we are complying with the basic criteria,” he explained. Inspectors checked to make sure trees were trimmed properly and to see that the arboretum would provide an educational and enjoyable experience for visitors.

While long-term plans call for the entire 128-acre campus to be adapted for purposes of the Bryan College Arboretum, initial activities have focused on the Triangle area at the heart of campus. At this point, 32 species of plants have been labeled.

“I believe we currently have about 50 species on campus,” Dr. Sanders said. “We have a self-guided tour to follow around campus, but we would like to develop walking trails through the wooded areas with labeled trees and interpretive signs.”

The next goal is to reach Level II certification, which will require identification and labeling of 60 different species, plus production of a map and pamphlet about the arboretum. A map of the current 32 species already is in hand.