The United States Capitol Grounds was recently named an accredited arboretum. The grounds are now listed in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a comprehensive list of arboreta and public gardens that have a substantial focus on woody plants for the benefit of the public, science and conservation.
As a Level II arboretum, Capitol Grounds is recognized as an area with at least 100 species of woody plants, dedicated staff, enhanced public education programs and a documented collections policy.
"The diligent efforts of Capitol Grounds are evident to all who work at and visit the Capitol campus. I am proud that the team's hard work was recently recognized by the Morton Register of Arboreta," said Stephen T. Ayers, Architect of Capitol.
Capitol Grounds encompasses more than 270 acres of land. The grounds immediately surrounding the U.S. Capitol Building cover an area of approximately 58 acres and provide a park-like setting for visitors, staff and Members of Congress. The grounds were designed in the late 1870s by Frederick Law Olmsted, a pioneer in the development of public parks in America.
"Congratulations to Ted Bechtol, Capitol Grounds Superintendent, and the entire Capitol Grounds team for this well-deserved recognition," said Ayers.
The Morton Arboretum created ArbNet, an Arboretum Accreditation Program, to establish and share a widely recognized set of industry standards for the purpose of unifying the arboretum community and providing a mechanism for benchmarking and guidelines for professional development. No other international program of accreditation exists that is specific to arboreta.
The Morton Arboretum was founded in 1922 in Lisle, Illinois by Joy Morton, who started the Morton Salt Company. His father, Julius Sterling Morton, was the founder of Arbor Day and a Secretary of Agriculture in President Cleveland's Administration. A tree honoring National Arbor Day was planted on Capitol Grounds in 1985 and is located on the North-East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.