Carleton College's student newspaper since 1877

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Arb Notes: The Arboretum Interpretive Guide

<eshman year at Carleton, I set out on a formidable task: to familiarize myself with the 800 acres of campus known as the Cowling Arboretum. Armed with a pair of sturdy shoes and an Arboretum map purchased from the college bookstore, I spent numerous afternoons after class walking and following the map—getting my bearings, enjoying a retreat from hectic campus life, taking in the visual splendor of the Arb’s prairie, trees, and wildlife. However, though I learned where I was going when I took my walks, what I lacked was a knowledge of what, exactly, was around me. Plants, animals, landscape in an abundant variety, to be sure, but I realized that no matter how many hours I walked, the Arboretum was still foreign, mysterious and full of questions. A map gives you direction; a guide gives you explanations. This is where the Carleton College Cowling Arboretum Interpretive Guide came to the rescue.

The Interpretive Guide is the brainchild of Mark Luterra ’07, who put together this compact yet informative resource for his ENTS capstone project. The guide provides a broad historical background to the Arb, beginning at 500 million years ago during the formation of bedrock in this region and proceeding into describing today’s restoration efforts that began in the 1970s. In addition, the Guide examines the Arboretum’s various habitats and the plants and animals that reside there. Perhaps the most helpful element of the Interpretive Guide when venturing out into the Arb is the Guide’s “points of interest”—49 points in all, comprised of the Arb’s most interesting historical sites, landscape elements, and plants. The guide gives details on each point and labels it on an Arboretum map. It not only steers you in the right direction, but also provides the story behind elements of the Arb that are often overlooked while using an ordinary map.

The Guide can be found free on the Arboretum website’s Visitor and Volunteer Information section, and I recommend for anyone interested in learning a little more about the Arb to take it along with them on their next Arb excursion and find the 49 points of interest. Though a trip through the Arboretum can be enjoyed on many levels, this handy, printable booklet proves the Arb to be not only a place of natural beauty, but a piece of local history, ecological importance, and dynamic change.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Carletonian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *