The UC Davis Arboretum occupies 100 acres of land along the south edge of campus, along the banks of Arboretum Waterway, on the old north channel of Putah Creek. It was established in 1936 to help young biologists at UC Davis learn the plants of California. The paths of the Arboretum make a walking and running loop that is about 3.5 miles long.
For those with an interest in gardening, the plants of California, or local wildlife, the garden has over 31,000 trees and plants. Many of the plants have plant labels or nearby signs, describing the collection. The Arboretum is free and open seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Frequently, guided tours and workshops are offered for the public or special groups. For teachers, there are programs especially designed for student groups. Visits to the UC Davis Arboretum are popular field trips for local K-12 schools and community colleges. UC Davis students and faculty also host science cafes, music, theatre performances, readings, or art events in the Arboretum that are open to the public, for free or for very low cost.
Highlights include the Carolee Shields White Flower Garden—designed in the style of the moon viewing gardens in Japan and India that feature white flowers to reflect the light of the full moon, a newNative American Contemplative Garden, which honors the native Patwin people who lived on here, along Putah Creek, and the shady T. Elliot Weier Redwood Grove, a grove of coast redwoods that were planted by UC Davis student volunteers in the 1930s.
Although people from the local area and from the entire region enjoy visiting the UC Davis Arboretum for runs, walks, and learning more about gardening, it is also a scientific museum, with nationally important research collections of oaks and acacias. You will often see UC Davis classes or faculty researchers out in the gardens— more than 100 classes on campus use the Arboretum, and it is an busy site for student and faculty research projects about plants, water, and wildlife.
Without gate fees, the UC Davis Arboretum depends on community support. The Friends of the Davis Arboretum is made up of supporters of the Arboretum. Since the 1970s, the Friends— who came together to protect the Arboretum, after all funding to the garden was cut and all staff were laid off during a UC Davis budget crisis— have been hosting fundraising plant sales in the spring and fall, and organizing volunteers who work together with the staff all year in weekly teams or as part of large, one-time community work days to keep the Arboretum gardens, nursery, events, and office tasks running smoothly.
Read more about the history of the Arboretum here: In our own Backyard: A History of the UC Davis Arboretum
– from the Davis Wiki