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Furman receives arboretum designation

Photo by Brad Cox
Photo by Brad Cox

Furman University has received accreditation as a Level I arboretum through The Morton Register of Arboreta. Furman earned the recognition for exemplifying tree conservation, species diversity, and educational resources and events focused on landscapes and trees.

The George G. Willis Jr. Arboretum, whose grounds and tree tags are accessible to the public on the Furman campus, strives to be a model for other arboreta in the Southeast and across the nation. The predominance of native species makes the arboretum representative of arboriculture in Upstate South Carolina, and provides learning and research opportunities related to the region.

Says Professor and Director of Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability Angela Halfacre, “Furman’s commitment to sustainability is evident in every decision the University makes, and this includes an emphasis on quality of life and taking the long view. The arboretum is a highly visible and beautiful way Furman contributes to our community and engaged learning.”

The George G. Willis Jr. Arboretum affords opportunities for engagement in both the natural and social sciences. Students and faculty are collaborating to research and promote the environmental and human services provided by trees. Plans are under way for installing interpretive signage for distinct educational landscapes, for organizing guided “tree walks” for the public, and for enhancing online resources.

Kylie Stackis, a 2014 Furman graduate and Shi Center for Sustainability Student Landscape Fellow, says, “Furman’s designation as an arboretum speaks to our commitment to the landscape as a means whereby people may learn and appreciate the value and services trees impart. Landscapes have the power to shape the identity of a place, and Furman would not be the same institution without its trees.”

A Furman Trees Committee comprised of students, faculty, grounds staff, and community partners, developed an extensive arboretum management plan to monitor and maintain tree health and safety, and increase species diversity with a focus on local species.

The arboretum is named for George G. Willis Jr., a 1948 graduate whose passion for the Furman landscape persists to fund future arboretum developments.

For more information about Furman’s Shi Center for Sustainability or the ArbNet accreditation, contact Yancey Fouché at (864) 294-3656, or


About ArbNet

ArbNet, The Morton Register and the Accreditation Program are coordinated by The Morton Arboretum as an international initiative to support the work of arboreta in saving and planting trees. Learn more at:

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