The Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus holds a very limited woody plant collection. A few species (four) account for a surprisingly large share (52.4 percent) of the campus tree inventory. The existing inventory is distinguished not only by its lack of diversity but by its lack of character and seasonal interest (consider the large ad nauseum collection of Red Twig Dogwood, Yew, Canadian Hemlock, and Pin Oak). A considerable portion of this inventory is also marked by short-lived species prone to various pests and pathogens (consider the genus Malus and Prunus, for example). In addition, many woody plants in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s already limited inventory are invasive nonnative species (consider the large collection of Winged Euonomus, Norway Maple, and Japanese Barberry). We advocate the use of hardy woody plants as a means of providing a more sustainable, diverse, and colorful inventory of woody plants for the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus.
The Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is not an exercise in campus “prettification.” It is not something undertaken to—pun intended—“spruce up” the place. The Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania would certainly have beautification effects, but such effects are incidental to the central purpose of an arboretum. Similarly, the purpose of the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania is not simply to have a diverse collection of woody plant specimens. While diversifying the existing inventory is one of the arboretum’s goals, the diversity goal must be augmented by objectives that seek to demonstrate how woody plants can be applied in the landscape to achieve environmental, educational, and aesthetic purposes.
The following objectives seek to display the instrumental value, native habitats, intrinsic qualities, and architectural uses of plant specimens. These four objectives make up the arboretum’s “quartet” of garden types.
Connections between the community and the Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will take several forms. These would include (1) physical linkages between campus and community, (2) advocacy linkages with local groups and industry and (3) public linkages with the surrounding community. Physical linkages might include, but need not be limited to, arboretum extensions along the Hoodlebug Trail, the “regreening” of Wayne and Oakland Avenue, and improvements slated for Getty Heights Park. “Green improvements” along both campus and community pedestrian circulation elements should be undertaken as projects of mutual community/campus interest. These linkages are identified in the IUP Campus Development Plan and the Indiana County Pedestrian and Bicycle Circulation Plan as well as other relevant documents.
Advocacy linkages will take the form of connections with—what we’ll call—“street livability” advocacy groups, including the Indiana Borough Shade Tree Commission, Livable Indiana Neighborhood Connections (LINC), Penn State Master Gardeners, Evergreen Club, Downtown Indiana, and the Indiana Garden Club. Indiana County is a major player in the “Green Industry.” Linkages with the Pennsylvania Nurserymen’s and Landscapers Association and the Indiana County Christmas Tree Growers Association will be established. On-campus organization such as ECO, the Co-op, and Phi Eta Sigma (Freshman Honors Society) may be interested in participating as well.
A traditional function of an arboretum is to provide opportunities for educators, students, and the general public to identify plants and learn about their natural history. The Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will continue this tradition. In addition, the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania will provide opportunities to learn about applications of plant materials to resolve environmental problems (see “Garden Quartet” Goal 2 above).
Implementing the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania requires financial, physical, and human resources. As noted above (Goal 3), many of these resources are already in place. The campus has an existing inventory of trees (partial inventory done in 1994, complete inventory in 1982). The university is and will continue to be engaged in substantial capital improvement projects. The community has a number of advocacy horticultural organizations.