Background

While the existing arboretum on campus is historically significant, it is in a state of decline. If properly developed and maintained, the Waugh Arboretum has the potential to become an important part of the organizing framework for the campus landscape. In addition, it can become a significant arboretum which will be an educational and economic asset for the University, for the region and for the Commonwealth.

Frank A. Waugh, namesake of the Campus Arboretum.

The arboretum has existed on campus for over one hundred years. During his 1867-1879 tenure as the University's third president, William Clark traveled to Hokkaido, Japan to establish an agricultural university and he returned to Amherst with Japanese plant specimens. Among these were several original introductions which have been credited to Clark. As the cross-cultural relationship between the two universities flourished, so did the collection of plants Clark collected on subsequent visits. Clark and his successor, Dr. Brooks, brought back a number of horticulturally outstanding Japanese plants toward the end of the 19th century, many of which comprise the backbone of the strong Asian presence in the arboretum today.

Interest in the campus arboretum continued under the eye of Frank A. Waugh, head of the landscape architecture department in the early 20th century. He had a vision of a picturesque campus where the buildings should blend with the agricultural landscape. This vision reflects the founding philosophy of the college, that the land was more important than the buildings. In 1944, after WaughÕs death, President Baker recommended that certain areas of campus be set aside for development of the Waugh Arboretum and that their development be under the supervision of the Department of Landscape Architecture. It was voted to authorize the establishment of the Waugh Arboretum as recommended by the President and Massachusetts State College officially recognized the campus arboretum as a memorial to Waugh and his contribution to the campus landscape.

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Although the arboretum is historically significant, it is not publicized or promoted by the University. Therefore its potential for contribution to the University and the community has been diminished. A more thoroughly developed arboretum will be an educational, cultural and aesthetic resource for the University and the community. As a regional destination, the arboretum could also become an economic asset for the University.

Objective:

Provide an organizing theme for the campus landscape which supports teaching and research, defines the quality and character of open spaces and promotes the historical and cultural image of the University.

The objective of the development of the Waugh Arboretum is to provide a "green framework" which connects Landmark Destinations and defines key open spaces. The campus core arboretum will be revived and further developed and an Arboretum Visitors Center on Orchard Hill will support teaching and research activities.

Policies:

  1. The Waugh Arboretum and the Arboretum Visitors Center will provide a "landscape for learning" for the University and the general public.
  2. A Master Plan will be the organizing tool for the arboretum. All additions to the arboretum must conform to and support the Arboretum Master Plan.
  3. Several planting standards will be reinforced to establish landscape consistency and unity throughout the campus.
  4. An Arboretum Advisory Board will be established as a decision-making body to direct and oversee the arboretum. By-laws will be written and followed as the guiding philosophy of, and objectives for, the arboretum.

The Japanese Elm at South College is
the oldest specimen in the USA.

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