Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is thrilled to announce that it has raised $1.5 million to support and endow a critical position at the Arboretum, that of the Paul W. Meyer Chief Arborist. The position is expected to be filled at the beginning of 2020.

“Funding the Chief Arborist position is something that we have been working towards for several years. It is remarkably gratifying to have secured the funding that will allow us to fill this critical Arboretum role.  I am so grateful to the McCausland Foundation and to Janet and John Haas for making this a reality”, said Anthony Aiello, the Gayle E. Mahoney Director of Horticulture and Curator. The Chief Arborist will report to the Director of Horticulture.

Elizabeth McCausland Salata, Arboretum Board member and Director at The McCausland Foundation, remarked that “The McCausland Foundation is so grateful to Paul Meyer who inspired so many with his message of the great value of trees in urban environments.  It is our great privilege to have helped establish and name the Chief Arborist position in Paul’s honor.”

Janet Haas, Arboretum Board Member Emerita, echoed these sentiments, “Paul is a regional hero for his work over decades educating our community, and those far beyond it, about trees.  We cannot imagine a more fitting way to honor his legacy than to ensure that he is associated in perpetuity with the Chief Arborist position.”

Morris Arboretum’s tree collection is a defining feature of the garden and is a fundamental aspect of its mission. Of the 11,985 accessioned plants throughout the Arboretum (not including those in the greenhouse), 4,127 of these are classified as trees, ranging from small, recently-planted seedlings, to vigorous teenage and maturing trees, all the way to impressive veteran specimens.

As a museum, Morris Arboretum’s tree collection is insured, and based on a valuation that was conducted in 2013, it has a total estimated value of $25 million, making the tree collection one of the top assets of the Arboretum.

It is essential to preserve, maintain, and grow this collection in order to achieve Morris Arboretum’s goals of research, horticulture, and education. 

The continued efforts to focus and improve Morris Arboretum’s tree care ensures that this resource continues for future generations. Adding the Chief Arborist will be a great addition in allowing the Arboretum to care for its trees, while also strengthening the arboriculture education and outreach programs.