The Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania has received a Level I Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and the Morton Arboretum.

The recognition means that the Allegheny Arboretum meets standards of professional practices important for arboreta and botanic gardens, and that the Allegheny Arboretum is recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta.

“Receiving a Level I accreditation from ArbNet validates the efforts that have been made to create the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania,” Allegheny Arboretum Chairperson Jerry Pickering said. Pickering is a biology faculty emeritus from IUP. “This accreditation also provides information about what steps need to be taken to continue to develop the arboretum.”

Established in 2000, the Allegheny Arboretum encompasses the entire 374 acres of the IUP campus, including a 150-acre woodland. In 2005, the Allegheny Arboretum officially became part of the university and is overseen by the Allegheny Arboretum Board, which provides guidance in meeting the arboretum's goals and objectives.

The mission of the Allegheny Arboretum is to provide a learning environment both on and off campus that seeks to advance its global understanding of temperate forests worldwide, cultivate an aesthetic appreciation for regional flora of the Allegheny Plateau, and demonstrate practical applications of woody plant materials to modify and mitigate local environmental conditions. It is the intention of the Allegheny Arboretum Board to work with organizations to develop a public arboretum that is integrated into the Indiana community as well as a regional arboretum for western Pennsylvania. The goals of the Allegheny Arboretum have been reinforced in the 2010 University Long-Range Facilities Master Plan and the 2011 Arboretum Concept Overlay Plan.

The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. This international initiative offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity, and professionalism. Accreditation is based on self-assessment and documentation of an arboretum's level of achievement of accreditation standards. Standards include planning, governance, labeling of species, staff or volunteer support, public access and programming and tree science, planting, and conservation. More information is available at the ArbNet website.

Jerry Pickering and President Michael Driscoll in the IUP Oak Grove
(Photo by Keith Boyer: IUP President Michael Driscoll, right, congratulates Jerry Pickering, chair of the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania Board of Directors, on the arboretum's Level I Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and the Morton Arboretum.)