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The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, a woodland sanctuary on the James Madison University campus, is a public urban garden and forested greenspace that preserves native plants species, provides opportunities for research, and promotes knowledge of the botanical and natural world for people of all ages.
The Edith J. Carrier Arboretum is a 125-acre botanical preserve located within the city of Harrisonburg and the campus of James Madison University. It provides an ideal combination of naturalized botanical gardens and forest, complementing each other and serving the purposes of research, teaching, and demonstration. This green space is home to a diverse ecosystem featuring native plants of the mid-Appalachians; a collection of non-native trees, shrubs, and bulbs; an herb garden; a pond habitat; a wetlands garden and a monarch way-station.
The Arboretum is a center for the conservation, enjoyment, and interpretation of plants and ecosystems of the Shenandoah Valley, and serves as an outdoor biology laboratory and environmental educational center with tours, lectures, seminars, workshops and other public programs. Four full-time staff, five part-time staff, and several work-study interns help keep the Arboretum thriving; but the staff rely on dedicated volunteers who help with maintenance, plant sales, events, tours, educational programming, plant inventory, and planning.
JMU prides itself on the Arboretum's availability and use by the public. The Arboretum is open 365 days a year, dawn to dusk, free of charge and estimates that there are approximately 12,000 - 15,000 visitors annually. The variety of groups using the Arboretum vary from participants in the Governor's School, local science camps, regional garden clubs, local public elementary and middle schools, and many more.