Root Glen and Arboretum
The Root Glen is a forested area, paved by a shale walkway and home to botanical wonders. An arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are grown for scientific and educational purposes. The Hamilton Arboretum, including all trees on campus, creates a unique ecological identity.
Today’s Root Glen is the result of the work of three generations of the Root family, whose members are widely known for their various achievements in scholarship, diplomacy, and art collecting. The glen contains some 65 species of trees, dozens of shrubs, and scores of varieties of flowers. The forestry preserved by Hamilton’s horticultural grounds staff, remains as a result of previous owners who reforested a cleared pasture.
Our mission is to preserve the stately historic campus landscape, build upon the diversity of the collection with sustainable species, and reinforce the aesthetic character of the campus. It seeks to provide visitors with a broader understanding of the campus landscape and promote long-term stewardship of the environment.
Ecological Value of the Arboretum
An arboretum is a place where trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants are grown for scientific and educational purposes. Hamilton seeks to use the arboretum as an outdoor laboratory to provide opportunities for botany, biology, and horticulture. The horticultural grounds staff incorporates new plantings that are sustainable in Central New York, with an emphasis on native species. With more than 125 plant species, the arboretum serves to support the surrounding ecosystem by sequestering carbon, reducing erosion and stormwater runoff, and offering food and protection for other species.
The Hamilton College Arboretum was awarded a Level II Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum. The Arboretum gained this award by achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboretum and botanic gardens in 2020. A Level II arboretum must feature at least 100 species of woody plants, employ a paid staff, and maintain enhanced public education programs and a documented collection policy.
There are currently 3,390 trees in Hamilton’s Arboretum, scattered throughout campus. This makes our campus feel homey and sustainable. These hardy trees remove 2032 pounds of pollution and sequester 26.11 tons of carbon per year. Trees also provide cool shade during the hot summer months, are integral to student health and wellbeing, and promote biodiversity on campus. For more information on how a tree impacts the environment, visit itreetools.org.
Each month, accredited speakers participate in a series the Hamilton Arboretum hosts, the Saturday Series. The events are open to the public, and often led by Hamilton faculty. Participants leave with knowledge they can use in their own gardens, yards, and homes. Some events even include demonstrations. Topics have ranged from climate change to mushroom use in psychotherapy. For more information, visit Workshops and Events.
The Sustainability Office summer interns of 2023 are working on developing Hamilton’s arboretum in collaboration with Bartlett Tree Expert Company. The Bartlett team conducts the information collection using a GPSr device in conjunction with tools built within the ArborScope™ management program. Information such as species, condition, location, size, tree risk, pests/diseases, management needs, and asset value can be found on ArborScope. An interactive and publicly accessible map of Hamilton’s arboretum will be created. Stay tuned!