Mission & History
The purpose of the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens is to be an inspiring educational and recreational resource demonstrating the value and use of trees, shrubs, and othe plants in the Iowa landscape.
The Iowa Arboretum and Gardens will develop, maintain, and grow the premier Iowa collection of trees, landscape plants, and native ecosystems.
Core Organizational Values
We cultivate an environment that inspires learning about plants and nature in Iowa.
We encourage environmental stewardship and leadership.
We foster community engagement and relationships.
We are passionate about creating positive experiences and an environment that is fun, new, and fresh for visitors of all ages.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
We will welcome all audiences and treat everyone with dignity and fairness, and respect.
We value and respect donors, staff, members, volunteers, and guests.
We continuously evaluate and improve collections and operations.
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 6,000 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 120-acres of native woodland and prairie featuring century old oaks and native grasses.
Above: Dale Siems, Governor Ray, Arie Kroeze
Right: Early Board of Directors
Click here to view a timeline of major milestones of the Iowa Arboretum and Gardens.