Redesigning An Arboretum

While on NC State’s campus, you may have walked through Gardner Arboretum and not known it. Horticultural science graduate student Dallas Bretzman hopes to change that.

Graduate student Dallas Bretzman, right, orients student volunteers to the inventory process.

Bretzman’s final project for her degree program is a master plan design that transforms the one-acre landscape, which is probably best known for its bronzed “strolling professor” statue, into an educational destination.

“The design will be to artfully refocus this space into a teaching arboretum for faculty who use campus plantings in their teaching,” Bretzman said. 

The effort kicked off Oct. 4 when dozens of students helped inventory the site as part of a service learning project commemorating Arbor Day and NC State’s recent designation as a Tree Campus USA.  

“We are trying to understand how people use the space and what trees are here. We’re also recording soil temperatures and pH to understand which plants will grow best in these conditions,” said natural resources major Sam Blumenfeld, who participated in the event.

The event included tree care demonstrations by NC State Grounds Services.

Bretzman will use this data to shape a new site design, which will be provided to NC State Grounds Services for potential use in the future.

“This event is a great way to get a lot of baseline information,” Bretzman said. “The goal is to make this space an educational arboretum where students can come to learn about the campus canopy and trees. We also hope to achieve providing a space for students to gather, enjoy and learn from their surroundings.”