by Eileen Abbattista
Have you steered clear of walking
on the DU campus in recent years? You can hardly be blamed. Since 1999, a
revisioning of the entire campus green space, coupled with numerous ambitious
building projects have often rendered passage
difficult. But now is definitely time to reconsider your route, as the
University of Denver Chester M. Alter Arboretum is undertaking revitalizing
changes, contributing to the environs in a truly thoughtful and lovely way: it
is absolutely not to be missed.
In fact, free one-hour Arboretum Highlight
Tours are starting up this summer, both on Fridays at 1p.m.: July 26 &
Aug. 30. As the succinct Tree Walk brochure (du.edu/arboretum), reveals: “The University of Denver’s Chester M.
Alter Arboretum was created in 1999 under the leadership of then-Chancellor
Daniel L. Ritchie to honor the legacy of the institution’s 12th chancellor.
“Today, the arboretum testifies to Alter’s role in
laying the foundation for the campus to come. Serving as chancellor from
1953-67, Alter spearheaded a building boom and helped the campus grow from 75
to 125 acres.
arboretum is home to about 2,150 trees representing more than 240 species and
varieties, as well as dozens of shrub species that provide the landscape with
year-round interest. In addition to some historically significant mature trees,
the arboretum includes seven state champions, the largest specimens of a
particular species growing in Colorado. University Park, the neighborhood to
the east of campus, is home to several more state champions.
“The arboretum aims to delight and instruct. It
also aims to establish a regional identity for the campus based on collections
of trees, shrubs and woody groundcovers that enhance the University’s
aesthetic, educational and scientific goals. In time, the arboretum’s collection
will include all native Colorado species capable of flourishing on the Front
Range, as well as ecologically adapted specimens from around the world.”
As arboretum curator Francesca Aguirre-Wong
told The Profile, “Eighty-two new metal plaques have been installed (so
far) identifying notable trees on campus. Some plaques carry QR codes to
provide visitors with access to more extensive information on our champion
trees.” Self-guided tours are always an option, with a
kiosk and detailed map on the southwest corner of the Mary Reed Building
(easily found at the end of the circle drive off University Blvd.) – and
if you go by, please send kind regards to my favorite massive English Oak, just
south of the kiosk!
At least one day’s advance notice is needed
for tour reservations: call 303-871-4350 or email
Tours for groups or individuals can also be arranged.