Mission & History

Mission Statement
The purpose of the Iowa Arboretum is to be an inspiring educational and recreational resource demonstrating the value and use of trees, shrubs and other plants in the Iowa landscape.

The Iowa Arboretum aspires to be the premier Iowa collection of trees, landscape plants and native ecosystems.

Core Organizational Values

Educate           We cultivate an environment that inspires learning about plants and nature.

Advocate         We encourage environmental stewardship and leadership.

Participate      We foster community engagement and relationships.

Experience      We are passionate about creating positive experiences and an environment that is fun, new and fresh for visitors                                        of all ages.

Commitment   We value and respect donors, staff, members, volunteers and guests

The Iowa State Horticultural Society was founded in 1866 for the purpose of promoting and encouraging horticulture and its related interests. In 1966, as the ISHS celebrated their 100th Anniversary, they passed a resolution to start an Arboretum to serve the state of Iowa. A 40-acre tract of land located in Boone County was purchased and the Iowa Arboretum was established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Both organizations set out to support horticulture in the state of Iowa, sharing the same goals.

This unique showplace has continued to expand and contains over 4,000 accessioned woody and herbaceous plants. It is one of the largest and most diverse displays of plants that can be successfully grown in Iowa. In addition, the Arboretum manages a 330-acre native woodland featuring century old oaks and native grasses.