We're taking exciting first steps at the new Community Arboretum!

The Community Arboretum at the Assunpink Environmental Institute is a collaborative effort between the Mercer County Soil Conservation District (MCSCD), the Assunpink Environmental Institute (AEI), and community partners who want to make a difference in their local environment. The word arboretum is just a formal way to describe a 'garden of trees' or a place where trees are grown for study or enjoyment. Our goal in creating the Community Arboretum is to provide a place for community members to learn about the importance of urban tree resources, and other aspects of natural resource conservation at the interface between developed and undeveloped environments in Mercer County, New Jersey.

Over the next several years, the arboretum site will develop into a living laboratory for people to learn tree identification, proper pruning techniques and tree maintenance, as well as how to reduce the risk of wildfires on natural lands. Visitors to the various planned theme gardens will also be able to take home tips for creating butterfly gardens or improving wildlife habitat in their own backyards.

With a grant from the NJ Department of Protection and people-power from local volunteers this spring, we took our first steps toward turning the arboretum vision into a reality. This fall we created our Wildlife Garden with the help of Hamilton Cub Scout Pack 38 and a grant from the NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. Yet, there is still much to be done. We invite community groups, individuals and familes to join us as we create a Community Arboretum for all to enjoy. We are seeking people who can donate services or materials to help make the project a success, and those who simply want to get their hands dirty while helping to improve the natural and commuinty resources in Mercer County. Please contact Heather McNeil-Nazareth at (609) 586-9603 or heather1mercer@aol.com for more information.

What we've accomplished so far... Thanks to our donors and volunteers!

Above and below: Cub Scouts and parents from Hamilton Pack 38 pose after helping to create the wildlife garden during an autumn conservation workday.

There's still a lot to be done... And we hope you'll join us!

  • Landscaping around AEI Education Building
  • Wildlife and songbird garden
  • Butterfly garden
  • Continued planting or trees in the arboretum
  • Wetland enhancement area
  • Warm-season grass and wildflower establishment
  • Invasive species removal and management
  • Outdoor teaching and meeting spaces
  • Proper pruning demonstration areas
  • Interpretive signs and educational materials





The Community Arboretum
at the Assunpink Environmental Institute