The National Park Service designated the University of Wisconsin Arboretum as a National Historic Landmark, due to its research in conservation and restoration ecology.
To be made into a National Historic Landmark, a location must be significant to American history and go through an extensive nomination process. After this, the place must go through the National Park Service’s National Historic Landmark Survey and the National Park System Advisory Board before finally going to the secretary of the interior, according to UW News.
The Arboretum meets these requirements due to its work during the 20th century to restore ecological environments and investigate the role fire plays in the natural life cycle.
UW Professor Emerita of Botany Joy Zedler outlined the Arboretum’s accomplishments in an email statement to The Badger Herald.
“A significant accomplishment of the Arboretum, as a part of UW-Madison, has been its global role in establishing restoration ecology as a science and in supporting the practice of ecological restoration,” Zedler said. “‘Restoration’ is a common subject and research field now, but it dates to efforts that began at the Arboretum — a place where ecological research was encouraged by Aldo Leopold back in 1934.”
Zedler also said the Arboretum plays a large role on campus, as students often use it for class projects and experiments — though the COVID-19 pandemic has halted this practice.
Due to its proximity to campus, Zedler said the arboretum has attracted students who wanted to study ecology, many of whom were able to earn their Ph.D. or MS degree as a result of their research.
“The honor of being a National Historic Landmark should build on and heighten the reputation of a place that welcomes both research and public appreciation and involvement,” Zedler said.