Dedicated in 1986, Crete Public Schools Arboretum became the first recorded arboretum at a public school in the United States of America. Today, the learning space is leading a digital-first approach to public garden engagement.

Founded at the confluence of three campuses, the arboretum is open and accessible to the public without physical barriers to entry and no stairs. The main vehicle entrance uniquely divides the arboretum into distinct showcase areas. A public sidewalk borders three-quarters of the space, while a paved pathway surrounds a memorial fountain creating a tranquil centerpiece.

In 2021, the Green-Collar Internship Program, as part of the GPA: Greenhouse, Prairie, Arboretum project, restored the arboretum, along with its native prairie and onsite greenhouse. These efforts also included the launch of a digital map, which allows visitors to virtually navigate the park by interfacing with interpretive signage that champions plants and the necessity of environmental stewardship. The aim of the tool is to enhance the visitor experience, while encouraging nature immersion. Today, the arboretum functions as a living laboratory for experiential learning and remains rooted as a testament to the value of nature.

Arboretum image