ARLINGTON, VA—Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is proud to announce the renewal of its Level III Arboretum accreditation, initially designated in June 2018. Only 45 renowned institutions worldwide, including five cemeteries, maintain this prestigious accreditation.
"I’m very proud of our dedicated horticulture professionals, and our entire team of cemetery employees who helped us to achieve this milestone,” said Arlington National Cemetery Superintendent Charles “Ray” Alexander. “We are honored to maintain our Level III Arboretum status, which contributes immeasurably to our mission to care for all those who rest here.”
ArbNet (an interactive, international community of arboreta) created its Arboretum Accreditation Program to establish and share recognized industry standards for the arboretum community. It is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity and professionalism. Accreditation, based on self-assessment and documentation, reflects an arboretum’s level of achievement of specific standards—including planning, governance, number of species, staff or volunteer support, education, public programming, tree science research, and conservation.
To be considered for Level III accreditation, an institution must first satisfy all criteria for Level I and Level II accreditation. It must also have a minimum of 500 species, varieties or cultivars of trees or woody plants; a dedicated curator or curator-equivalent employee who focuses on the care and development of the arboretum collection; and the professional capability to collaborate and share plant collections data with relevant organizations. Additionally, a Level III Arboretum must maintain an active agenda related to tree science, strategic planting or conservation, including direct research, and a substantial program of education related to trees, conservation and other related topics.
Since ANC’s original Level III accreditation in 2018, the cemetery’s horticulture professionals have continued to contribute to the arboretum community, tree science, and urban forestry through numerous collaborative research projects. ANC’s horticulture staff also actively engage in public outreach efforts. These include presentations to college students studying horticulture, as well as public walking tours that focus on topics ranging from seasonal highlights to sustainability practices.
In 2022, as part of ANC’s online Education Program, the horticulture team led the development of two learning modules. “The Environment at ANC” features Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) oriented lesson plans and other materials on the environmental principles that guide landscape management and design at ANC; the “Memorial Arboretum” module includes seasonal guides and walking tours, which can be used for remote learning or in-person exploration of the cemetery. These may be accessed at https://education.arlingtoncemetery.mil/.
“To maintain Level III accreditation is hard work,” said Arlington National Cemetery Chief of Horticulture Stephen Van Hoven. “Through our continued science, research and conversation efforts, Arlington National Cemetery has solidified itself as a leader in cemetery horticulture, landscape design and collections management.”
As part of ANC’s 150th anniversary in 2014, the cemetery’s 639-acre landscape was established as a Memorial Arboretum—a living tribute to those who honorably served their nation. “A national shrine, Arlington National Cemetery is also truly a world class arboretum,” said Executive Director of Army National Military Cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery Karen Durham-Aguilera. “These incredibly beautiful grounds reflect how we are privileged to honor our veterans’ and patriots’ service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation.”
To learn more about ANC’s horticulture program and Memorial Arboretum, visit https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Memorial-Arboretum-and-Horticulture.
To view photos highlighting the cemetery’s beautiful grounds, visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/arlingtonnatl/albums/72177720305315832 and follow us on social media @ArlingtonNatl.