F.R. Newman Arboretum
Like arboreta world-wide, the F.R. Newman Arboretum is a place for the scientific study and public exhibition of a diversity of trees and shrubs. These plantings, all hardy to our area, help foster Plantations’ scientific, educational, and plant appreciation efforts. Here, visitors can learn about and enjoy native species, as well as species imported from similar climate zones around the world.
The arboretum’s collections—including nut trees, crabapples, oaks, maples, shrubs, and urban trees—comprise a 100-acre pastoral setting. Specialty gardens in the arboretum include the Zucker Shrub Collection and the Treman Woodland Walk. The rolling hills and valle
ys, or “bowls,” were carved out by Fall Creek following the retreat of the last glaciers over 10,000 years ago. The arboretum’s overlooks and benches provide visitors with panoramic views.
Browse each collection from the list on the left sidebar. Click on the audio icon to listen to a short audio clip about each collection.
Before becoming an arboretum, this area was part of a working farm, and served as a pasture for the Cornell Department of Animal Science’s herd of Black Angus cattle. In 1935, 200 men from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) set up camp south of Cascadilla Creek, and worked in what is now the arboretum for six years. Through all seasons, they cleared and graded the land, constructed stone walls, built roads, and planted trees. By 1941, they had built four miles of roads and eight miles of paths, prepared seven thousand cubic yards of compost, and planted thousands of trees and shrubs. Feeding, clothing, and paying these men cost the government about $200,000. A similar project today would cost over ten million dollars. In 1981, with the encouragement and financial generosity of Floyd R. “Flood” Newman ’12, the arboretum’s construction began, taking care to follow the area’s topography and making maximum use of existing plants. During the Cornell Class of 1912’s 70th reunion in 1982, over 100 guests heard Newman speak at the arboretum’s dedication.