History of the Arboreta
The Arboretum was the idea of a group of University of Idaho professors in the 1970’s who were concerned that there was not enough plant diversity in the campus landscape. Their solution was to start a new Arboretum. The University President at that time, Ernest Hartung enthusiastically supported the idea. Somewhat remarkably, the site that is now the Arboretum was essentially undeveloped (and treeless) university property at that time, other than the north end which was being used as the driving range for the golf course. The site was dedicated to Arboretum development and with help from the U of I Foundation, enough funds were raised to develop a Master Plan for the Arboretum which was approved in 1980. On Easter Sunday, 1982 the Moscow Rotary Club donated and planted the first trees in the Arboretum. One of the original policies of the development was that no university funds would be spent on the collections. All of the plantings and other assets in the Arboretum have been donated as gifts to the university and continues to be the only way to add to the site. In 1987, Dr. Richard Naskali was appointed Arboretum Director as the first paid Arboretum employee. Dr. Naskali served in that role until his retirement in 2003. He was instrumental in developing the back bone of the current collections of primarily ornamental species and cultivars arranged based on where they are originally native. In a typical year, there is something in flower from February and March (e.g., alder, willow, filbert and poplar) through October. Autumnal coloration commences in September with the maples and progresses into November with a brilliant final color show of the Eastern North American oaks.
In addition to the opportunities for plant study and observation, the Arboretum provides a unique site for observing resident and migratory birds throughout the year. The ever changing habitats among the maturing ornamental plants provide food, nesting sites and stopping points for the common and uncommon songbirds and raptors throughout the year.
The Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum
When Charles Houston Shattuck came to the 20-year-old University of Idaho in 1909 to start a forestry curriculum, the campus was essentially treeless. In 1910, he initiated planting a 14-acre weedy slope with hundreds of introduced trees and shrubs for education and beautification of the campus. His legacy, “Arboretum Hill,” was named the Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum in 1933, two years after his death.
Today the Shattuck Arboretum, a tranquil grove of mature trees, is one of Western North America’s oldest university plantings where superior specimens of American Beech, California Incense-Cedar, English Maple, etc. can be seen. Among these treasured specimens perhaps the most spectacular is a magnificent Giant Sequoia planted in 1916. Adjacent to the arboretum is an amphitheater available for lectures, concerts, barbecues, weddings and other events.
The Shattuck Arboretum is located immediately west of the U of I Administration Building and north of the U of I President’s Residence.