The Arboretum occupies a 125-acre slice of Shenandoah Valley woodland that forms the western edge of the James Madison University campus. Much of the native flora has been preserved or enhanced, and the surrounding community values the peaceful respite the Arboretum provides to them. However, the Arboretum shoulders many challenges. Much of its “developable” land is within a major flood zone; the remainder sits on steeply sloped oak-hickory forest. Present maintenance facilities are located in the floodway, and an iconic pond and event lawn face similar issues.
Terra assisted the new director and staff in transforming the Arboretum’s vision from a regional destination to a less ambitious yet sustainable woodland oasis. This included a commitment to: feature artful stormwater management exhibits; strengthen native, low maintenance planting displays; focus upon accessible pathways; partner with University professors,; and welcome families in a purposeful manner.