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ArlingtonArlington National Cemetery in top rank of arboretums

Arlington National Cemetery in top rank of arboretums

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Arlington National Cemetery has garnered renewal of its Level III Arboretum accreditation, initially designated in June 2018.

Only 45 institutions worldwide, including five cemeteries, maintain the 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 the cemetery’s original Level III accreditation in 2018, horticulture professionals have continued to contribute to the arboretum community, tree science and urban forestry through numerous collaborative research projects.

The cemetery’s horticulture staff also actively engages 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.

(For information on educational programs, see the Website at 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 conservation efforts, Arlington National Cemetery has solidified itself as a leader in cemetery horticulture, landscape design and collections management.”

As part of the cemetery’s 150th anniversary in 2014, its 639-acre landscape was established as a Memorial Arboretum as a living tribute to those who served their nation.

“These incredibly beautiful grounds reflect how we are privileged to honor our veterans’ and patriots’ service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation,” said Karen Durham-Aguilera, who is executive director of U.S. Army national military cemeteries.

To learn more about ANC’s horticulture program and Memorial Arboretum, visit https://www.arlingtoncemetery.mil/Explore/Memorial-Arboretum-and-Horticulture.

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