U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture

As one of the most visited public gardens in the United States, the National Arboretum plays a vital role in connecting people with the importance and value of plants to healthy, sustainable, and livable communities. At 451 acres, the National Arboretum is an urban oasis that is positioned to play a leading role in providing access and information to communities that are growing ever disconnected to the value of plants. At our core is the need to conserve and preserve plant diversity to ensure resilient landscapes and natural systems. To do this, we must mobilize the diversity of our neighbors and visitors to meet the challenges facing American landscapes and agriculture in the 21st century. The National Arboretum is a dynamic institution, supporting the needs of ARS, the Department of Agriculture as well as sister agencies and departments, collaborating with national and international partners including foreign embassies, and hosting a diversity of events and programs to meet the needs of our stakeholders and visiting public. To do all this and more, we seek individuals with a passion for communicating and celebrating the diversity of American landscapes and the roles plants play in sustaining communities  
Washington, Washington DC, United States Washington, Washington DC, United States

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The United States National Arboretum is a collections-based research facility and public garden administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), whose mission is to enhance the economic, environmental, and aesthetic value of ornamental and landscape plants through long-term, multi-disciplinary research, conservation of genetic resources, and interpretive gardens and exhibits.

Located in NE Washington, DC, the National Arboretum is one of the largest green spaces in the Nation’s Capital, welcoming over 600,000 visitors a year from around the country and the world who come to explore, experience, and connect with our gardens, collections, and exhibits. Home to the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Arboretum houses one of the largest and most extensive public collections of bonsai, penjing, and viewing stones in the world.

Although those activities are welcome benefits derived from visiting the grounds, the U.S. National Arboretum is an active place of discovery. Scientists conduct individual and collaborative research at the U.S. National Arboretum and its greenhouses, laboratories, and regional facilities. Educators create programs and interpretative aids to help visitors—in person and remotely—to experience the excitement of learning about plants in nature and cultivated landscapes. In addition, the public gardens collect, preserve, and display valuable germplasm to assist in future research; serve as a testing ground for exploring plant cultural and edaphic requirements and production challenges; evaluate new and improved cultivars of economically, environmentally, and aesthetically valuable plants; and provide the public with the opportunity to see the results of current and past research accomplishments.

The United States National Arboretum was officially created by an Act of Congress on March 4, 1927 when the Secretary of Agriculture was authorized to purchase land in NE Washington, DC identified in 1917 as the new home for its gardens and collections that were relocated form the National Mall. Founded “for the purposes of research and education concerning tree and plant life”, the National Arboretum continues the legacy of the Department of Agriculture’s vision begun in 1867 when the first secretary called for the creation of a grand American arboretum. During the first decade, the arboretum property was acquired piece meal during the Great Depression, while hosting one of the few African American Civilian Conservation Camps. During World War II the arboretum played host to the Army for the air defense of the Nation’s capital. It was not until the 1950’s and 1960’s that the National Arboretum as we know it today was created. It was at this time the administration of the National Arboretum was consolidated under the Agricultural Research Service, a $1.2 billion dollar agency that serves as the research and science arm of the Department of Agriculture. The National Arboretum’s core campus is in Washington, DC, however there are research laboratories in Maryland and Tennessee that support ornamental nursery and floricultural crops, turf, and landscape industries. The National Bonsai & Penjing Museum was founded by a gift of 53 trees form the people of Japan to the United States in honor of our bicentennial in 1976. Since then, the museum has grown to several hundred specimens and is consistently voted as one of the top museums off the Mall in Washington, DC. In 2027 we will be celebrating our own centennial and are positioning for continued success in our second century.

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