A century of stewardship: Boyce Thompson Arboretum celebrates 100 years

Courtesy photo/Boyce Thompson Arboretum Visitors stroll through the arboretum’s Wallace Desert Garden.

SUPERIOR – Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden, is celebrating its 100th year. The arboretum will host a year of events, highlighting their mission to inspire appreciation and stewardship of desert plants, wildlife and ecosystems through education, research and conservation.

“This centennial year is an opportunity for us to share more broadly the beauty of Boyce Thompson Arboretum, our botanical collections and our history,” said Executive Director Lynne Nemeth. “The calendar is packed with events that will serve to both educate and inspire, reflecting a century of commitment to environmental stewardship.”

Centennial celebration events in 2023 include the 100 Tree Spree from September to December, in which the arboretum will partner with schools, municipalities, community organizations, parks and nonprofits to plant 100 native trees throughout the Valley-Metro area and its neighboring communities. The spree will kick off on Sept. 23 by planting trees at the newly restored Ayer Lake.

From October 2023 to  October 2024, there will be a Then and Now History Installation. Guests will take a trip down memory lane as historical photos are placed at key locations throughout the arboretum, allowing guests to view “then and now.”

On Oct. 21, 2023, the inaugural Green Gala will celebrate 100 years of past, present and future, highlighting those who strive to create a more sustainable landscape.

January 2024 through October 2024 will see the Spiny Splendor: Hedgehog Cactus Art Exhibit, a larger-than-life art exhibit showcasing the Boyce Thompson hedgehog cactus. January through April will see the Legacy Tour, a docent-led tour highlighting the arboretum’s history and the realization of Colonel Thompson’s vision through key contributors over the decades.

“Our founder, Colonel William Boyce Thompson, realized one hundred years ago what we still believe today; all life depends on plants,” said Nemeth. “As we face a future impacted by climate change, we know that stewardship of the land and all creatures is vital.”

For more information about Boyce Thompson Arboretum, go to BTArboretum.org.

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