We are building a new, modern facility to support the day-to-day operations of this world-class botanical institution. As the headquarters of much of the staff that tends our trees and gardens, South Farm supports everything visitors know and love most about the Arboretum. The South Farm project, located south of the Administration and Science Center, began in February 2016 and is expected to be completed in October 2017.
Beginning in the spring 2017, the Arboretum is replacing the workspace that is currently housed in the Annex and Outpost (both near Parking Lot 21). The renovation project includes removing the Annex and the Outpost and adding a new building that combines the staff functions of both buildings in the approximate location of the existing Outpost. Tentative completion is fall 2017.
Vital restoration is underway along 1.5 miles of the East Branch of the DuPage River as it flows through the Arboretum. Work involves re-grading the artificially steep, badly eroded banks to give them a more natural, gentle slope. Invasive plants that choked the old river banks are being removed, and the banks will be planted with a variety of native plants, including 850 new trees. Major work began in the fall of 2015 and will take about 18 months.
Beginning in the fall 2017, the Arboretum is expanding Wonder Pond (for an even bigger splash!) and updating the picnic pavilion where families participate in educational programming (or simply recharge and relax). We are touching up the Children's Garden’s entrance so it is even more visible and welcoming—a great place to begin your journeys. Tentative completion is spring 2018.
Updating Drain Tiles
To care for its collection and restore more natural areas, the Arboretum is updating a decades-old network of drain tiles—underground pipes, usually made of clay, designed to drain water away from soil. In some places, the drain tiles are being repaired, with new valves and other controls, as well as some new pipes, to allow staff to manage soil moisture conditions for trees from around the world. In select areas, soil is being restored to remedy erosion caused by collapsed drain tiles. Elsewhere, the tiles are being disabled to allow the natural water flow to return, bringing back habitat for native plants and animals. The drain tile work began in 2015 and is expected to continue through 2016.