A group of adults and children stand at the edge of a pond in front of a concrete building with large glass windows. The three children kneel, looking closely at the pond. The adults stand nearby, watching the children and the pond's surface.


Header image: A group of people standing outside the Arboretum Centre admiring the pond, 1983

The Arboretum would not be what it is today without the hard work, dedication and support of many different people. Plans were drawn, gardens and forests were planted, buildings were constructed and educational programs were created as the result of the energy and perseverance of many professors, donors, Arboretum staff, students and volunteers.


A group of staff stand, posing for a picture. The staff are positioned in three rows, two standing and one sitting in front.

Hilton Centre Staff, 1977.

The Arboretum owes its legacy and reputation to its dynamic, hardworking and dedicated staff. They are both the backbone and the face of The Arboretum, coordinating and delivering its educational programs, research and conservation activities, as well as maintaining the grounds as an inviting space for visitors, researchers and students.

The hard work and passion of the staff have left an enormous impact on all dimensions of The Arboretum. Without them, The Arboretum would not be what it is today.

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The Arboretum has been intrinsically connected to the Ontario Agricultural College and the University of Guelph since its establishment. In fact, The Arboretum was created due to the diligent work of a group of O.A.C. professors.

While The Arboretum was originally established to benefit Botany, Landscape Architecture and Horticulture courses, faculty from all areas of study choose to utilize The Arboretum as a place of learning and research. Whether it is teaching in The Arboretum, completing research in Arboretum facilities or on Arboretum grounds, or partnering together for a project, The Arboretum is thankful for University of Guelph faculty’s contributions to the legacy of The Arboretum.

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Two men look at a framed map of The Arboretum. The man in front leans over a table and points at the map. He has dark, short hair and a moustache. A man stands behind him and looks where he is pointing. That man has short hair, glasses, and a moustache. He is also wearing suit and tie.

Professor R.J. Hilton and Professor W. E. Coates look at the Master Plan of The Arboretum.


A group of seven young adults sit on a wooden picnic bench for a photo. Three men stand in the back smiling while four women sit in the front.

2003 Summer Students. Clockwise from top left: Marc Paquin, Beau Stasiuk,
Sean Fox, Heather Bettger, Elisa Caruso, Annie Benko and Kate MacKay.

As an integral part of the University of Guelph, undergraduate and graduate students visit and utilize The Arboretum for a variety of reasons. Whether students visit for a class, explore the area with a club, de-stress by taking a walk along our trails, participate in research projects or on-site field studies, The Arboretum is a unique space on-campus. Our summer students contribute significantly to the quality of the visitor experience through all their efforts on the grounds, as well.

The Arboretum also welcomes hundreds of elementary, secondary, and out-of-school students each year to learn about the natural world through our workshops, guided tours and the Da Vinci Arts and Science Environmental Leadership Program.

Students and program participants remind us to keep learning, adapting, and growing after 50 years of operations.

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The Arboretum is privileged to have many dedicated volunteers who donate their time to support our activities and programs.

The Arboretum’s volunteer program, The Arboretum Auxiliary, first began in 1995. Eighty people attended the first meeting to learn more about how they could assist The Arboretum. Volunteers support our staff and visitor services, complete outdoor work, lead organized tours as Docents and assist with the planning and coordination of both our events and fundraising initiatives.

The Arboretum’s grounds, programs and services have flourished thanks to the assistance of our past and present volunteers.

Click here to see more photos of Arboretum volunteers.

Two elderly women volunteer in the greenhouse growing and tending to plants. The woman on the right is bent over as she looks at the rows of plants on the table in front of her. She is wearing a white bucket hat and a navy blue t-shirt. The woman on her right has short white hair. She is wearing a button up white shirt with a dark green apron over top. She is also tending to the plants not he table in front of her.

Arboretum Auxiliary members Margarete Gillies (left) and Monica Bibby help at Plant Sale in 2018. Photo by Jessica Lovell for the Guelph Mercury Tribune.