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TC Landscape Is Designated Arboretum

The Temple College landscape now can be called an Arboretum.

Announcement of the Arboretum designation was made at noon on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2006, under the shade of a large oak tree (Quercus virginiana) near the south entrance of One College Centre.

The announcement marked more than seven years of development and beautification of the Temple College landscape. Dr. David Creech, director of the Stephen F. Austin University Arboretum, worked as a consultant with the TC Landscape Committee in transforming the campus into an Arboretum, a place where trees are grown alone or with other plants to be used for scientific or other educational purposes.

Development of the college landscape began in 1998 with the formation of a Landscape Committee. Dr. Anne Penney Newton, a member of the TC Board of Trustees, has served as chair since that time.

The TC landscape now has more than 100 species of trees as well as more than 300 species of annuals, perennials and shrubs on the 106-acre main campus, Dr. Newton said. There are some duplications of species including an outstanding collection of live oaks, as well as many one-of-a-kind specimens such as the native Texas Olive ( Cordia boissieri) outside the southwest side of the Instructional Services Center.

In the early planning stages, the Landscape Committee included beautification in an Arboretum Mission Statement: To develop an Arboretum and Wildscape using native plants and adapted plant species and to make the campus an attractive place for learning and recreation for students and visitors.

Over the past seven years, the Committee has accomplished many of its goals. The first project was the bed in front of the Arnold Student Union. In 1999 Reid Lewis of Sweetbriar Nursery in Belton joined the committee and became a part-time staff member as Horticulturist, bringing a wealth of expertise and commitment to reaching the committee's goals. The Frazier Sculpture Garden, the second project, was designed by Marie Kline of Sweet Briar Nursery and a member of the Native Plant Society as well as a member of the committee at that time. The garden extends 133 feet along the east side of the Watson Technical Center. The initial planting of more than 300 plants in 1999 has been expanded and in February of 2001, the first outdoor sculpture on the campus, "Fleeting Moments" by Belton artist Rex Murrah, was unveiled.

Another milestone came in 2003 when the campus became a certified Texas Wildscape, a designation made by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Since that time, a second water source has been added in front of the Math and Biomedical Science Building and many more plants attractive to wildlife have been included in the landscape.

Skeet Powell, director of facilities, Lewis and other committee members have developed a Tree List and are creating a database of all the plants and their locations on campus. When completed, this information will be made available on the Landscape Page on the TC website. Terry C. Smith, who has been a member of the committee since its inception, has been responsible for the design and placement of markers at trees or landscape features that have been gifts or memorials.