Oak-kay, we’ve got some tree-mendous news to share that yew just wood-n’t be-leaf!
Did you know that one of Greenlawn Cemetery’s coolest treasures are its trees?
That’s right. This urban gem is home to hundreds of trees of all sorts of species, ranging from the common native and naturalized trees you can see just about everywhere locally to the non-native and exotic trees that originally hail from lands far beyond our shores. A leisurely stroll around Sargent Pond will take you beneath the outstretched branches of the Korean Mountain-ash (Sorbus alnifolia), native to northern and eastern China, Japan, and the Korean peninsula. Continue walking and just before you pass beneath another Korean Mountain-ash, you will encounter the Common Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), a tree native to the eastern, mid-western, and southeastern US but whose native range stops just short of Massachusetts, reaching only into Connecticut. Continue walking around Greenlawn Cemetery and you will notice some Massachusetts natives like the Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Northern Red Oak (Quercus rubrum), Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus), and the increasingly rare Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis). As you can imagine, the vast collection of species and specimens growing within the cemetery have already made Greenlawn an arboretum.
Now for the cool news – back in March, the City of Salem’s Cemetery Commission gave the green light for a collaboration between Salem State University, the City of Salem, and the Friends of Greenlawn to seek accreditation for Greenlawn Cemetery as a Level I arboretum through ArbNet‘s Arboretum Accreditation Program. ArbNet is a global network of tree-focused folks that offers the only international accreditation program specifically focused on woody plants, ie., trees. Any arboretum and public space with a substantial focus on these plants can apply for accreditation at a level that suits them. There are are four levels in total, each recognizing arboretums at various stages of development and achievement. Here in Massachusetts we have less than 15 arboretums of any level – it would be an honor to have Greenlawn listed among the few and to have the cemetery’s tree collection be recognized formally. This recognition would also be helpful in obtaining grants and other funding for the continued restoration and preservation efforts within the cemetery. It would also provide educational opportunities and a means for the community to become more involved.
If you would like to be involved in the arboretum collaboration, please use our contact form here to find out more information on how to get in contact with the Salem State University staff heading up this effort.