Skip to main content

Botanic Garden of Smith College Achieves Highest Level Of Arboretum Accreditation


close of up tree

Published September 6, 2023

NORTHAMPTON, Massachusetts (09/05/2023) – The Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton has achieved the highest level of arboretum accreditation–Level IV–from The Morton Arboretum’s ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to recognize arboreta that achieve particular standards of professional and collection excellence.

The Botanic Garden of Smith College’s historic arboretum, which previously held a Level III accreditation, has earned this new level of accreditation because of its commitment to building conservation collections and institutional collaboration. These efforts, led by the Director Tim Johnson and Landscape Curator John Berryhill and in partnership with the Global Conservation Consortium metacollections network, will allow the botanic garden to hold conservation collections for centuries ahead. Of recent note, the Botanic Garden of Smith College was asked to take the role of species steward coordinator for Magnolia fraseri by consortium leadership and collaborate with global consortium leaders on building this innovative and nascent strategy for collaborative tree conservation. 

This conservation work has also led to collaborations with the Massachusetts State Botanist, Native Plant Trust, and indigenous land managers in ways that will provide important experiential learning opportunities for Smith students. It’s the dedication to this work that has earned the botanic garden this level of accreditation along with many of the world’s largest and most prestigious arboreta and botanic gardens.

“When I consider the short list of world class arboreta that this accreditation groups us with, it just amazes me what we have been able to accomplish with a staff of our size. It really speaks to the versatility and commitment of everyone here and how hard we have all worked to identify priorities that will have substantial impact at a regional, national, and global scale,” shared Berryhill.

The Botanic Garden of Smith College fosters environmental and social justice through teaching and learning about plants, people, and place. Since its founding in 1895, the Botanic Garden of Smith College has been devoted to teaching, public education and scientific research. The garden spans 127 acres across campus and includes a 12,000 square foot conservatory, 11 outdoor named gardens and a historic arboretum. 

About ArbNet 
ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. ArbNet facilitates the sharing of knowledge, experience, and other resources to help arboreta meet their institutional goals and works to raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The accreditation program, sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards. 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