Blog Article

Carol Woods is now accredited as a Level 1 Arboretum

November 30, 2023 -

In November the Carol Woods Grounds crew received notification of their Level 1 Arboretum status through Arbnet International, an arboretum accreditation and networking program. To qualify, Carol Woods had to submit an Arboretum plan that included a collections policy, an organizational or governance group, 25 or more woody plants labeled, at least one staff member, public access, and at least one event each year. Initially the team applied for a Level II certification, but the additional requirements were too extensive for the present. As an example, Level II would require our landscape team to label 100+ woody plants and create and deliver an enhanced educational program. Work is already underway to label the required woody plants. Residents will see more of these signs popping up over the next few weeks. Each will have the plant’s scientific name, common name, and a QR code that will allow the viewer to scan for more information.

As often happens at Carol Woods, it was residents who suggested pursuing the Arboretum certification. The initial discussion began with Marian Stephenson several years ago. Later, Bob Fletcher and Sindy Barker shared information about the arboretum at Kendal-Crosslands in Pennsylvania and The Pines at Davidson, the only senior living community in North Carolina accredited as a Level 1 Arboretum. To get a better understanding of what and how arboreta function, the Grounds crew went to Elon University to speak with their staff about their Arboretum application process, and to share ideas. Following that consultation, Ryan Talley, Carol Woods Arborist, crafted the Carol Woods Arboretum Collections Policy that is available on Carol Woods Online, and Matt Cooper organized the plant list.

While pleased with the Level I certification, our staff may set their sights on attaining a Botanical Grounds Certification instead of a Level II Arboretum certification. Jen Schilkowski, our Grounds Manager, described the difference: “Arboretums deal specifically with woody plants—think trees and shrubs – while a botanical garden focuses on all types of plants.” She noted that Carol Woods is known much more for its trees, but our experienced and educated staff believes that the rest of our botanical bounty is also worthy of being shared with the public.

– Sheril Sheppard and Jen Schilkowski