Dedicated in 1986, Crete Public Schools Arboretum is the first recorded arboretum at a public school in the United States of America. Today, the learning space, showcasing 7.2 acres out of its 85 total acres, is leading a digital-first approach to public garden engagement.

Founded at the confluence of three campuses, the arboretum spans an impressive area, open and accessible to the public with no physical barriers such as stairs. The main vehicle entrance introduces visitors to distinct showcase areas, while a public sidewalk borders three-quarters of the space. A paved pathway encircles a memorial fountain, offering a tranquil centerpiece to the space.

Recently, the Green-Collar Internship Program, a workforce development project stemming from the GPA: Greenhouse, Prairie, Arboretum initiative, revitalized the arboretum along with its onsite prairie and greenhouse. These efforts also included the development of a virtual map, enhancing the visitor experience by enabling digital navigation of the park. This interactive tool interfaces with newly installed interpretive signage, emphasizing the importance of plants and environmental stewardship.

Today, the arboretum, with its carefully curated 7.2 acres, serves as a vibrant living laboratory for experiential learning and remains rooted as a testament to the enduring value of nature.

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