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Wofford College Arboretum Opens Nov. 15

Monday, November 11, 2002

SPARTANBURG, SC—Under the canopy of thousands of trees, Wofford College students, professors and visitors have long enjoyed the almost legendary beauty of the campus.

The opening of the Wofford College Arboretum on Friday, Nov. 15, will highlight the campus as a haven for nature lovers and will provide enjoyment and educational opportunities for the Spartanburg community and visitors to the area.

The entire 145-acre campus is designated as an arboretum, and Wofford is now a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.

The Nov. 15 event will provide a celebration of the designation and mark the opening of the first two self-guided tours of the arboretum.

The public is invited to the 1 p.m. event, to be held in front of the Franklin W. Olin Building.

Participating will be nationally renowned horticulturalist Dr. Michael Dirr, formerly of the University of Georgia; famed landscape architect Rick Webel of Innocenti & Webel; and Roger Milliken, chairman of the board of Milliken & Co., a member of the Wofford College board of trustees and the driving force behind the arboretum. All of them have been instrumental in planning and creating the landscape design at Wofford and in developing the campus as an arboretum.

As part of the celebration, Dirr will provide the ceremonial “first tour” by describing the first few trees on the Central Campus Tour.

Nearly 4,500 trees have been planted on the Wofford College campus since 1992. Some 2,700 of those trees have been identified, cataloged and mapped for the two initial tours – the Central Campus Tour, which begins at the Admissions Office; and the South Campus Tour, which begins at the home of Dean of the College Dr. Dan Maultsby.

Those two tours include 97 varieties of trees; another 150 will be added as tours of the north side of campus, along Evins Street and Gibbs Stadium, and along Memorial Drive on the south side of campus.

The Wofford College Arboretum will be available to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including holidays. Kiosks will be set up at the starting points of each tour with full-color brochures of the self-guided tours. All of the trees on the tour will be labeled.

In addition, a full-color book is being published to provide further information about the trees included in the arboretum. The 100-page book, which will be available for purchase, devotes a full page to each of the 97 varieties of trees included in the interior campus tours, describing the tree and its foliage and/or flowers, its optimum growing conditions, and its natural habitat.

Information for the book was compiled and designed by two Wofford students, Matt Borders of Cherryville, N.C., and Ryan Gilreath of Inman, S.C., as part of their internships under the Milliken Summer Challenge this past summer. They were guided by Rachel Ruff, horticulturist and head of the Milliken Corporate Headquarters grounds department. Wofford botany professor Dr. Doug Rayner assisted in editing the book.

Having the arboretum open to the public and identifying the plants satisfy criteria set for institutional members of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta. Other criteria, which Wofford fulfills, include having the arboretum function as an aesthetic or educational display and/or site research; maintaining plant records; and having at least one professional staff member responsible for the arboretum.