2014 annual appeal supports free family programs

 watenpaugh family

The Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden support group raises funds to invest in key areas of the Arboretum and Public Garden’s work. This year, public programs for families are the focus of the Friends annual appeal.

The Arboretum and Public Garden’s events calendar is filled with free family programs that connect children and adults with the environment and showcase the work of UC Davis students and scientists. These inviting, interactive, and educational programs for the public are created by student leaders, such as the Arboretum Ambassadors, working in partnership with the Arboretum and Public Garden’s education staff.

Heghnar Watenpaugh, who attends programs frequently with her husband and children, says,

The Arboretum Ambassadors put on wonderful programs for families. Through their programs, we’ve learned to appreciate different aspects of the environment—from majestic oaks to tiny native bees. These programs teach our kids that nature is interesting and fun, but also that we have the responsibility to care for nature, and that every creature and plant plays a role—not just the cute ones.

Help make an impact—one family at a time. Please consider a gift to the Friends annual appeal.

Please consider a gift to support free family programs in the Arboretum and other GATEway Gardens across the UC Davis campus. Thank you.


annual-appeal-coverLEARN MORE
Download the “Discover Nature Together” brochure





Online: Make an online donation here.
Email: Download this form and email it to arboretum@ucdavis.edu
Mail: Download this form and mail it to:

Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum
c/o UC Davis Arboretum
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616

Season’s greetings and happy new year!

Photo of year-end collage.

Click to see a larger version of this image.

Thanks to the support and interest of people like you, 2014 proved to be another exciting year for the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden. We hope you stay involved because we’re planning more of the same for 2015! Happy new year everyone!


  • Top left: Through collaborations on campus and in our region, we continued to improve landscapes and landmarks like the community-designed and community-created bike tunnel mural in our Arboretum GATEway Garden. READ MORE
  • Middle left: Academic collaborations enlivened our gardens with art like the student-crafted, solar-lit sculptures created from recycled materials. READ MORE
  • Bottom left and top middle: Several student-led programs involving diverse partnerships allowed families the opportunity to discover nature and science together.
  • Middle center: Our water-wise landscaping experts assisted with California’s drought state of emergency. READ MORE
  • Bottom middle: Enhanced educational exhibits in our Geology GATEway Garden enticed visitors of all ages. READ MORE
  • Top right: Our landscape operations team received a four out of four star accreditation for their outstanding business, social, and sustainability practices from the Professional Grounds Management Society. READ MORE
  • Middle right: Our Arboretum Ambassadors, student interns specializing in environmental leadership, earned a campus community service award as well as President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award. READ MORE
  • Bottom right, left: Student learning opportunities coincided with landscape improvements along Arboretum Drive.
  • Bottom right: Volunteers supported our successful plant sale fundraising events and assisted with the personal shopper benefit we offer high-level members of the Friends of the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden.


Student-designed and built projects on display in the courtyard of UC Davis’ Hunt Hall

Photo of UC Davis landscape architecture students enrolled in LDA 160, a design and build studio.

Environmental design and landscape architecture students that designed and built a storm water catchment and rain garden. This student project, along with many others, are currently on display in the courtyard of Hunt Hall at UC Davis.

Students in Haven Kiers and Keith Wilson’s design and build studio (LDA 160) created three very different projects for the courtyard of Hunt Hall: covered bike parking with a green roof, a seating area with built-in storage, and a storm water catchment system and rain garden.

The creativity, design and construction knowledge displayed by these projects is inspirational and worth a trip to check out! You may even find ideas for your own yard! These projects will be on display in the courtyard of Hunt Hall semi-permanently. The plan is for future students to build upon and further improve these projects in the months and years ahead.

Special thanks go to UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden team members who provided an extraordinary amount of guidance towards these projects.

Skip Mezger, the campus landscape architect determined the parameters for the project and was instrumental in getting the bike racks donated; Cary Avery, associate director of grounds and landscape services and the entire grounds team helped with construction; Andrew Larsen, communications analyst directed the students’ sign making efforts; and, Taylor Lewis, nursery manager donated plants to the project.

This project is an excellent example of how the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden team is helping students co-create their campus.


The UC Davis Arboretum: what many students miss most

The Arboretum and Public Garden holds a special place in the hearts of many of our students. They appreciate the beauty of our campus and the feeling of relaxation and reflection that they get from being in the Arboretum.

It’s nice to hear about this connection from the voices of our students, like this recent post from the UC Davis Facebook page.

Original Facebook post

The Arboretum by Hanh Kieu
The Arboretum will always be near and dear to my heart. I go there when I need some time alone. I go there to look at the birds and the bees and all the various flowers scattered across. I go there with friends, late at night, to seek adventure and shooting stars. When I leave Davis, the one thing I will miss the most is the Arboretum.

Comment to post from student Robert Cardinelle:

My very first class at Davis was Constitutional Law, taught by adjunct professor from Bolt Hall at UC Berkeley. The class had at least 300 to 400 students trying to register in first day. The professor called on me audibly that day and by name to recite for him the facts, issues, reasoning, holdings and dissents of a SCOTUS Civil Rights case. I had no idea we were supposed to have read the case. I actually had no idea what he was talking about, or where I would even gain such knowledge. At that moment, I felt like a brightly, blooming imbecile enrolled at the wrong school, and that everybody knew it. He scolded me, saying that I should have come prepared the first day with the first 4 chapters of one of the four texts read, and ready to discuss. I hadn’t even purchased the books yet. After class, I rushed to the Campus Bookstore and purchased the books. I discovered the books to be about 1-1/2 inches think, with 600 plus pages, and written in about a size-6 Book Antigua font (very small). I was devastated. Feeling sick, I put my backpack full of books on, and I pedaled to the Arboretum. I stopped at the pond, next to a grassy-mounded ledge there, retained by a short-height masonry wall that is directly above the boat landing pier. I got off my bike, threw down my books, looked around to make sure no one was watching, looked up at the heavens and wearily wondered, why? Then, I fell down on my face buried it in the grass, and I cried my eyes out. I realized that I was going to fail and wash out of Davis. Well, all that emotion was a bit immature, and premature, because I bit the bullet and stuck it out (with my other classes as well — 18 solid upper division units) and aced that Con-Law class. Ever since then, the arboretum has always been very special place to me in a solemn way. I feel very lucky to have chosen Davis. It is by far the most beautiful campus.

Comment to post from student Allyson Camino:

Almost my thoughts exactly… The arboretum is the slice of nature that keeps me sane amidst the constant demands and busyness of the quarter schedule as well as for self-reflection, re-evaluation, and simply to pause everything down to escape and appreciate its beauty.

December 11 storm recap

Photo of tree down on Surge II building.

Despite the high winds and long-lasting storms, our campus fared the latest weather event well until about 7 pm last night (December 11, 2014) when a large stone pine came down on Surge II located west of the Silo.

“We’ve been running our street sweepers round-the-clock from Monday through Thursday making sure our storm drains remained clear, and working our tree crew non-stop to lighten branch loads so our trees could better withstand the deluge of water we knew we’d get,” says Cary Avery, associate director of grounds and landscape services. “This tree’s root system failed.”

“What happens in consistent rain systems like what we’ve been experiencing is that the ground gets so wet it can’t hold the roots any longer. The trees don’t break so much as pull out of the ground,” explains Avery. “That’s what happened to the stone pine here.”

Luckily this storm did take care of most of the lingering leaves, which will help as our campus expects to receive more much needed rain next week.

Thanks go out to all of our grounds and landscape services teams as well as our utilities and building maintenance teams for all the behind-the-scenes work they do to make sure our campus is ready for whatever Mother Nature sends our way.

Links to other media coverage of the storm:

UC Davis Dateline
CBS Sacramento
Good Day Sacramento
KCRA Channel 3

PHOTO GALLERY of images from December 2014 storms

Students develop design concepts for amphitheater in Arboretum

Image of student-designed amphitheater concept.

Whenever possible Arboretum and Public Garden staff collaborate with a wide range of professors across campus to incorporate our outdoor spaces into student learning.  Some of the projects use our campus grounds for creating and displaying their artistic works (READ MORE), others are timed so students can participate in campus design and construction projects (SEE MORE), and many classes take advantage of the diversity of flora in our landscapes to learn about plant taxonomy, horticulture, and plant sciences. We also enjoy having the opportunity to involve students in concepts for yet-to-be-designed spaces like an amphitheater planned for the Arboretum’s west end.

A large construction project currently underway in the campus’s health sciences district (READ MORE) includes a new veterinary medicine student services center, additional parking, an events lawn, and native plant meadow that also serves as a stormwater retention basin. An amphitheater is planned just below the native plant meadow, and, as of right now, only the preliminary grading is in place.

Students enrolled in Lecturers Haven Kiers and Keith Wilson’s Landscape Architecture 160, a design and build studio class, were asked to design the amphitheater based on several technical parameters and planned site functions. Below is a photo gallery of the concepts they created. Should we move forward with creating this amenity, their ideas will become part of our design process.

Thank you to Haven and Keith for offering their students this unique learning opportunity and to all the students for their incredible ideas and amazing creativity!


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