The Morton Arboretum Is Awarded A Federal Grant To Study The Past, For A Better Future
Project Aims To Develop Critical “Baseline” Information; Plan For Natural Areas’ Management
LISLE, IL (April 26, 2006) – The Morton Arboretum has been awarded a $150,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct a highly-detailed survey, and create a management and research plan for its extensive natural areas. This plan could serve as a model for conservation projects in the Upper Midwest region with important benefits to all who care about the environment, especially land managers and environmental stewards.
The natural areas “will become more biologically diverse, healthier, and more self-sustaining, with improved air and water quality,” said Clement Hamilton, Ph.D., Arboretum Director of Research.
The Arboretum’s new endeavor will build on past and current research by Arboretum staff, including Plant Conservation Biologist Marlin Bowles, whose reconstruction of Chicagoland forest history is used by land managers throughout the region. His work is part of the Arboretum’s efforts to create a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world.
The new project begins with Arboretum volunteers scouring Arboretum and municipal library archives concerning 700 acres of Arboretum woodlands and adjacent land leased from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County. The records will yield a very detailed history of how people used the area and how vegetation changed from the 1800s to the present. A primary consideration is how fire – occurring naturally or set by humans – influenced the natural area’s biological composition.
“We will endeavor to develop a historical account with an unprecedented level of detail,” said Kurt Dreisilker, Arboretum Manager of Natural Resources.
Researchers will compare information of past soil, water, vegetation use, and conditions with analyses of current vegetation to develop critical “baseline” information. Using this baseline, they will develop a new and exhaustive natural areas conservation management and research plan. This plan will recommend further scientific experimentation – especially regarding appropriate uses of fire, canopy thinning, introductions of native species, and control of invasive species.
“We intend this to be the most significant living laboratory in the management of natural vegetation of any public garden in the United States,” Hamilton said.
By early 2008, researchers plan to begin reporting their findings and to develop an action plan for future natural resources management within the Arboretum.
The Arboretum is one of 40 institutions receiving a 2006 ILMS Conservation Project Support grant, and is one of only two public gardens in the U.S. to receive such a grant. The Arboretum will provide $243,148 in matching resources.
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is “to grow and sustain a ‘Nation of Learners’ because life-long learning is essential to a democratic society and individual success.”
The Morton Arboretum is an internationally recognized 1,700-acre outdoor museum with collections of more than 3,700 kinds of trees, shrubs, and other plants from around the world. The Arboretum's beautiful natural landscapes, gardens, research and education programs, and year-round family activities support its mission – the planting and conservation of trees and other plants for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world. Conveniently located at I-88 and Rte. 53 in Lisle, Illinois, the Arboretum is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (CDT) and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CST). The Children's Garden is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT) and 9:30 to 4 p.m. (CST). Visit www.mortonarb.org or call 630/968-0074 to learn more.
Media Contact: Gina Tedesco, 630-725-2103,