Kendal-Crosslands Residents Earning Level II Arboretum Accreditation

The residents at Kendal-Crosslands Communities have been hard at work, earning a Level II arboretum accreditation from The Morton Arboretum for their two campuses. Residents have already earned the grounds, officially known as the Kendal-Crosslands Arboretum, a Level I accreditation, and expect to submit their application for Level II before the end of this year.

Each campus—Kendal at Longwood and Crosslands—has a dedicated team of residents working in conjunction on the project. The Level II accreditation also requires a paid, full-time employee, who is Casey Groff, the communities’ dedicated Grounds Manager and staff horticulturist. Groff currently assists residents in their project with his advanced knowledge of plants.

“A lot of retirement communities are able to achieve the Level I accreditation, but they never dream of going to Level II because much more work is involved,” says Kendal-Crosslands resident Eve Thyrum. Eve coheads the Kendal at Longwood team.

To achieve a Level I accreditation, a collection must have at least 25 different species of woody plants. For Level II, a collection must have at least 100. However, with more than 400 different species of woody plants on the 500 acre combined Kendal-Crosslands campuses, this part of the accreditation is easily met.

The hardest part comes with the documented collections policy. Each species in the collection must be documented in-depth, including the plants’ common name, botanical name, and provenance. Then, each species must also be physically labeled with a metal tag. Thyrum has completed the documentation of the collection, and the teams are hard at work creating the metal embossing tags, one letter at a time.

“We received a grant last year from Kendal,” Jennifer Allcock says, referring to Kendal-Crosslands parent organization, “to purchase the embossing machine. “But most of our funding comes from Gift Trees, a program for purchasing and dedicating a tree on one of our campuses.”

Accredited arboretums improve their surrounding communities by conserving natural trees, plants and land, and by providing educational opportunities and programs to both adults and children alike. Level II accreditation requires an enhanced educational program, meaning one that’s more robust than the programming required to receive a Level I accreditation. 

Kendal-Crosslands Arboretum currently sponsors an annual Arbor Day lecture, but must now take it one step further and develop a new program that benefits the greater community.

Residents are still in the development stage of how to enhance their educational programs. Some ideas include tours of the special featured collections along their paved loop walks, additional lectures, and hosting garden clubs. So, be on the look out for new arboretum related programs from Kendal-Crosslands next year!

For more information about this project, or to purchase a Kendal-Crosslands Arboretum Gift Tree, please reach out to Michele Berardi at Kendal-Crosslands at 484-259-1751.