St. Mary's Arboretum Association Beautifies Campus


This semester, the St. Mary’s Arboretum Association has reached a great number of their goals in terms of beautifying the campus through plant life and landscaping.  After helping the college earn an award for Best Maintained Landscape in the Country, the Association continues to improve the aesthetic quality of SMCM.

The St. Mary’s Arboretum Association, which was formed in August 2010, has been responsible for planting an abundance of plants and trees, improving the campus grounds, and spreading knowledge about the SMCM environment through programs and lectures. Founding member of the Association, Lesley Urgo, commented on the progress of the Association and their future plans.  “We’ve planted 53 of the planned 64 trees this semester alone. We’ve planted plenty of shrubs and daffodil bulbs. We’re doing anything we can do to create beauty and to help the environment.” Said Urgo.

The Association has begun looking towards the future by caring for what the campus already has. “It starts with taking care of what we have.  By doing this we’ve had very little damage during storms. “ Said Urgo. Associate Vice President of Planning and Facilities, Chip Jackson also expressed his happiness towards the Arboretum’s progress and future goals. “The Arboretum enriches the campus by improving our landscape and our sense of PLACE.  Most of us love our beautiful campus and consider its setting to be a key characteristic of the College. It helps define us as an institution and speaks to our values.” Said Jackson.

In the two years that the Arboretum has been established, student involvement has been a great aid to their efforts. “We have a student body that’s here because they do think it’s beautiful and they contribute by volunteering said Urgo. Students have assisted by planting in locations such as Alumni House and across North Campus.  “The Arboretum could not be successful without the tremendous amount of student involvement. Much of the Arboretum’s work is beyond the staffing capacity of the College grounds department requiring the volunteerism of our students to make progress.” Said Jackson.

Other than students, members of the SMCM community such as professors and the grounds staff have also been the driving force behind the St. Mary’s Arboretum Association. Master Gardener and Grounds staff, Cheryl Krumke spoke excitedly about assisting with the Arboretum. Krumke explained “I love working outside. I take great pride in this college.” Urgo declared, “This is a really unique place where everyone has one goal in mind, to make this a better place.”