Downers Grove Park District is now an Arbnet Accredited Arboretum

Wed December 11, 2019



DOWNERS GROVE, IL – Downers Grove Park District has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. Downers Grove Park District is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.

Established in 1946, Downers Grove Park District is home to 5,169 trees spreading over 600 acres of open space. The District’s diverse urban canopy features 92 species including a large number of Maple and Oak species in addition to Baldcypress, Serviceberry, Hackberry, Kentucky Coffeetree, Douglas Fir and Alder trees.

In 2019, the Downers Grove Park District received a US Forest Service Grant to develop an Urban Forest Management Plan. The grant is managed by the Morton Arboretum, which provided $5,000 toward the development of the plan, which the District matched with an additional $5,000. The Urban Forest Management Plan was completed by Graf Urban Forestry Professionals and approved by the District’s Board of Commissioners in October. The Plan includes a “State of the Urban Forest,” which provides data and analysis of the current canopy and outlines long- and short-term goals and recommendations for the future including how the District can:

  • Prepare for, and perpetuate the future of the Urban Forest by ensuring continuity in tree care, guide future tree planting efforts
  • Improve the resiliency of the tree population by increasing diversity
  • Plan for the reduction of invasive species, such as buckthorn and honeysuckle in the parks

In November, the District launched an all-new interactive Public Tree Inventory. The inventory is a catalogued and mapped GIS system that is available for public viewing through an interactive online map hosted on the District’s website. Through the interactive portal, visitors can explore each tree that is owned and managed by the District, learn more about specific trees and species as well as discover how they can grow and care for the tree in their own yard and landscape.

The Downers Grove Park District is committed to Arboricultural Best Management Practices for the Urban Forest in Downers Grove with a focus to increase canopy cover, filter and reduce storm water runoff, create shade and energy savings, promote general health and wellbeing, provide a source of enjoyment and aesthetics, uptake carbon dioxide and filter pollutants, and increase property values.

The Downers Grove Park District is thrilled to receive Level I Accreditation by the ArbNet Program and is excited for the future.

“Trees are a critical asset to our community and provide enjoyment for all who visit Downers Grove’s parks and open spaces. The District is proud to care for the trees of Downers Grove and we look forward to growing and diversifying our urban canopy in the years to come,” said Cathy Mahoney, Board President for the Downers Grove Park District.

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