Adkins Arboretum began as a piece of a land preservation puzzle initiated by the state government of Maryland. A 400-acre section of a state park would soon become home to Adkins Arboretum. The planning of the Arboretum really took off in the 1980s, highlighted by the inception of a path system, visitor’s center, and a not-for-profit friends association. The financial support of a local philanthropist allowed for the creation of The Friends of Adkins Arboretum.
Originally, Adkins’ mission was to showcase all of Maryland’s forest types throughout the Arboretum. Unfortunately, this was not a sustainable undertaking and Adkins was forced to devise a new, attainable mission. Adkins Arboretum embraced its roots and decided to focus on the plants of the Delmarva Peninsula. According to Fellow Tee Jay Boudreau, “This new principle focused the efforts of the Arboretum on developing displays and education of the native environments represented through hardwood forests, young woodlands, native meadows, wetlands and streams.”
Sustainability was definitely an emerging theme for our visit to Adkins Arboretum, ranging from the makeover of its mission to the message of ecological sustainability to the importance of looking towards the future. Executive Director, Ms. Ellie Altman, described the steps taken to ensure the future success of Adkins Arboretum. The most current project is the capital campaign that has been initiated to keep pace with their growing membership base and the world of public horticulture.