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Edith J. Carrier Arboretum

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A Garden is Always Becoming - Never Complete

"...this piece of land, this arboretum, is dedicated to stabilizing and balancing the lives of those who visit it. This space is also dedicated to the needs of ordinary people who seek renewal and who simply need an infusion of nature to better handle their days."

--Dr. Ronald Carrier, JMU President Emeritus, at an Arboretum ceremony in 1997

The Present

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum (Arboretum) is a 125-acre urban botanical preserve located within the city of Harrisonburg and the campus of James Madison University (JMU). It provides an ideal combination of naturalized botanical gardens (33 acres) and forest (92 acres), complementing each other and serving the purposes of research, teaching, and demonstration. This green space is home to a diverse ecosystem featuring native plants of the mid-Appalachians (woodland wildflowers, azaleas, and rhododendrons); a collection of non-native trees, shrubs, and bulbs (magnolias, Kousa dogwoods, hollies, daffodils, etc.); an Oak-Hickory Forest; a lowland swale; a shale barren; herb and rose gardens; a pond habitat; and a wetlands garden. An outdoor amphitheatre, terraced gardens, a Pavilion, a Monarch Way Station, and the Frances Plecker Education Center (Education Center) enhance the complex further.

Mission Statement

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, a woodland sanctuary on the James Madison University campus, is a public urban garden and forested greenspace that preserves native plants species, provides opportunities for research, and promotes knowledge of the botanical and natural world for people of all ages.

Welcome Message

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum invites you to step into a world of natural beauty. If you prefer serenity, you can follow the winding trails through the native Oak-Hickory Forest or wander through the sea of daffodil blooms in the April Walk garden in the spring.

If you prefer exploring nature through educational programs, the arboretum offers classes, lectures, tours, travel programs and other special events to serve your needs.

The arboretum is an outdoor living classroom available for use by all teachers, professors and students from the area. With its forested slopes, lowland swale, pond and forested savanna, the arboretum provides a unique habitat for a wide diversity of flora and fauna.

The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, the only active, publicly-oriented arboretum on a Virginia state-supported university campus, continues to grow and develop due primarily to the efforts of people from the public and private sectors joining together in support of enhancing the environment. Their common goal is to provide a place in which to enjoy and learn about one of the world's most valuable resources, its plants.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation: Not Listed
Notes: None Listed
Hours: Grounds open free to the public, dawn to dusk, 365 days a year.


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