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New technology opens Wofford's arboretum to more visitors

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Technology now offers visitors to Wofford College’s nationally recognized arboretum a new way to see and learn about the more than 5,120 “noble trees” planted on campus since 1992.

Through the college’s Web site, visitors interested in the 170-acre campus and its 250 species of trees – from magnolias common in the South the exotic Asian specimens to recently developed conifers – can log onto www.wofford.edu/arboretum for a multimedia presentation of the arboretum.

From there, they not only can view photographs and descriptions of the plants, and download maps for two self-guided arboretum tours, but also they can listen to descriptions of the plants and even download the audio to their iPods or other MP3 players so they can hear the descriptions as they stroll among the trees on campus.

Brian Jinwright, assistant Webmaster, and Baker Maultsby, associate director of communications, teamed with Linda McHam, a Spartanburg master gardener, to create the multimedia arboretum site.  McHam, a teacher, lecturer and instructor for the master gardener program in Spartanburg and the first woman to serve as the president of the city’s nationally recognized Men’s Garden Club, narrates the tours.

“The idea was inspired by numerous museums across the country that offer audio players to listen to comments on each exhibit,” Jinwright says.  “We felt that taking that idea and adding the ability for people to download the audio to their MP3 players would add some excitement to the tour.”  The project is part of an ongoing effort to make Wofford’s Web site more interactive and to use emerging technologies in ways that will connect alumni, prospective students and the general public to the college.

Wofford became a designated arboretum in 2002 with the help of nationally renowned tree expert Michael Dirr and landscape architect Rick Webel.