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Tree Tour Being Offered at West Hartford’s Westmoor Park, Newly-Certified as Level II Arboretum

Ribbon cutting celebrating Westmoor Park's certification as a Level II Arboretum. Courtesy photo

West Hartford’s Westmoor Park recently became certified as a Level II Arboretum, and there’s a chance to take a free tree tour on June 1.

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A tour was held of the newly-certified Level II Westmoor Park Arboretum was held on Saturday and another upcoming  tour, on June 1, is being offered to the public.

The Westmoor facility celebrated its recent accreditation upgrade on Arbor Day, April 26. Town Council member Deb Polun led the ribbon-cutting ceremony and commented on how the Arboretum reflected the essential mission of Arbor Day – to increase awareness, conservation, and planting of trees.

Helen Rubino-Turco, director of Leisure Services and Social Services, hosted the event and remarked that “the Westmoor Arboretum is one of only six collections in the state to achieve Level II status, and the only one in Hartford County.” More than a traditional park, an arboretum is a botanical garden focused on trees and woody plants, with a focus on conservation, public education, and species diversity.

Volunteer tree naturalist Bill Gleason and Park Naturalist Douglas Jackson were both singled out with recognition awards for their ground-breaking efforts to make Westmoor a Level I Arboretum in 2023 and again for leading a team of tree and plant experts to achieve Level II accreditation in 2024. The new Level II Arboretum contains more than 130 species of trees and woody shrubs.  All specimens are labeled with informational signage.

Guided tours by Gleason and Jackson are available in all four seasons. The remaining spring tour of the Arboretum is planned for Saturday, June 1, from 1 to 3 p.m.  Rain date is Sunday. Tours are free, but pre-registration is strongly recommended. For more information on how to sign-up for a tree tour this Spring, or for information on self-guided tours, please visit:  https://westmoorarboretum.org. Westmoor Park is located at 119 Flagg Road in West Hartford. Free parking is available.

The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only international accreditation program to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards.  The program is sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum in Illinois, in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International.  The program offers four levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity and professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science, planting and conservation. More information is available at www.arbnet.org.

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