The Fullerton Arboretum is a 26 acre botanical garden with a collection of plants from around the world, located on the northeast corner of the California State University, Fullerton campus in Fullerton, California, in the United States. It is the largest botanical garden in Orange County, with a collection of over 4,000 plants. The Arboretum saves species that are extinct or near extinction and serves as a learning place for agricultural history.
The Arboretum officially was created in 1976, and officially opened in 1979. The arboretum, which was originally a diseased orange grove, was transformed into organic gardening plots. A centerpiece of the Arboretum is the Heritage House, which was built in 1894 as the home and office of Fullerton's pioneer physician, Dr. George C. Clark. In 1972 the house was moved to what is now the middle of the Arboretum. The restored house now serves as a museum of family life and medical practice of the 1890s.
The Arboretum's garden paths wander through four major collections: Cultivated, Woodlands, Mediterranean and Desert Collections. Highlights include Southern California native vegetation, Rare Fruit Grove, an 11,000 sq ft (1,000 m2) organic vegetable garden, historic Citrus and Avocados, Channel Islands Garden, an extensive Cycad Collection, Conifer Collection, Palm Grove, Community Gardens, and a Children's Garden.
The Arboretum gives people the opportunity to teach and learn about the environment. They work with students and faculty from a variety of different campus departments and gather information. The research that is done is shared throughout Orange County. They offer a variety of classes to the public with subjects ranging from bird watching to water conservation. Students also work in the Heritage house, learning from displays and creating art.
The idea of creating an arboretum on the northern part of Orange State College’s campus, later known as California State University Fullerton, came from Drs. David Walkington and Eugene Jones. This land had originally been an orange grove and suffered a disease called “quick decline,” which led to the death of the trees. Teri Jones, along with other faculty wives, worked together to find support for developing the land into an arboretum. The Arboretum Committee was formed and they later won a Disneyland Community Service Award for its environmental efforts.
The Associated Students of Cal State College started funding for the project in 1971. Students and faculty worked together to use the land for organic gardening plots to show the environmental values of organic gardening. The trees were cut down and roots were removed.
In 1972, the idea of setting the land aside for a botanical garden came about. The Arboretum Society was formed and they started fundraisers on campus to build a botanical garden. They also asked the City of Fullerton to assist with the future Fullerton Arboretum, in an attempt to gain official community support for the project. The Trustees of the California State University system approved the planning of the botanical garden at CSUF and allotted twenty-six acres of land for the project.
The same year, a group called the Friends of Fullerton Arboretum was created out of the Arboretum Society in order to begin development. The Friends organization became a tax-exempt, non-profit corporation that helped raise funds for the project and continues to exist to this day.
An architectural firm was hired in 1976 to draw schematics for the arboretum. In October of 1977, the contractors for the project were awarded $621,000 to begin construction.
December 11, 1977 was the day the formal groundbreaking ceremony took place. The official opening ceremony occurred on October 21, 1979.
In 2004, a visitors’ center with classrooms, a pavilion, museum, and other modifications was created.
The Orange County Agricultural and Nikkei Heritage Museum is located on the grounds of the Fullerton Arboretum, and highlights the region's agricultural history, as well as the contributions of the local Japanese American community and other pioneering farmers. The museum is a collaboration between Fullerton Arboretum and California State University Fullerton.
Heritage House is a historic house museum decorated as a doctor's home and office of the 1890s. It is one of the oldest surviving homes constructed in the original townsite of Fullerton. The Eastlake-style cottage was built by one of Fullerton’s pioneer doctors, Dr. George Crook Clark, in 1894. The home was moved to the arboretum campus in 1972 to save it from demolition. It was originally located at the corner of Amerige and Harvard (Lemon) in the center of Fullerton. Docents lead tours of the house on weekend afternoons.
- "Fullerton Arboretum". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- "CSUF Arboretum Preserves California". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "CSUF Arboretum is an Oasis for Scholars and the Community". Retrieved 2 December 2012.
- "Arboretum History". Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- "Heritage House". Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- "Site of Heritage House".