There is something very special in our midst. A crown
What started out as a 250 acre gift to nature and our
community by Beman and Bertie Dawes in 1929, has
matured into one of the finest arboretums in the
Patiently and deliberately growing over the years, The
Dawes now contains 1,789 acres. On that acreage are over
15,000 plants, an historic home/museum, a visitors/
education center, eleven miles of walking trails, and four
miles of paved roadways. Happily, the Arboretum shows
no signs of just resting on its laurels.
Part of the
The Arboretum's mission is Trees, History, and Nature.
With 6,000 different varieties, they have the trees part
covered pretty well. The history part is covered nicely as
well. The Daweswood House Museum displays 19th and
20th century antiques and memorabilia from four of the
Dawes Family's five homes. Since 1927 there have been
102 tree dedications. While some are dedicated to (or by)
famous Ohioans like John Glenn, Jessie Owens, Orville
Wright, and Jack Hanna, most are dedicated to various
military men and military units. An impressive world
history lesson is available by merely reading the plaques
marking the tree dedications.
Island in the
While education isn't listed in their motto, the words "for the
education of youth" appears in the deed of trust (as well as
"for the pleasure of the public") . 16,000 people attended
education programs last year. Of that group, over 12,000
were school aged.
The Dawes Arboretum has an annual budget approaching
$3,800,000. While income is generated via memberships,
plant sales, facility rentals, and corporate sponsorships,
the lion's share of the funding comes from the endowment.
Originally endowed with a $200,000 Dawes contribution,
it has grown to its current size and strength by intelligent and
aggressive investing by the Trustees.
Dawes family members still serve on the Board of Trustees.
When the State of Ohio finally began construction of the
new State Route 161 there were some wetlands in the
way. Mitigation was called for. Creatively, Dawes
Arboretum approached ODOT, and joining forces with
them, created a new 21 acre wetland along Dutch
Fork on a recently acquired tract of land.
This fully functional wetland not only improves the quality
of water that flows from Dutch Fork to the Licking River,
it also serves as a flourishing habitat for fauna and flora,
and a point of education for the community.
It is this type of leadership and creativity that has
vaulted Dawes to the top ranks of arboretums around
It is a great place to visit, to learn about nature- or just
enjoy its wonder. It is a great place to wander around,
holding hands with your sweetie. It is a great place to
seek and find calm and peace.
We are truly blessed by this great, great Arboretum.