(January 2, 2014)

Centenary Arboretum attains national accreditation, recognition

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary's Ed Leuck Arboretum has been awarded a Level II Accreditation through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and the Morton Arboretum. The Ed Leuck Arboretum is only one of five in Louisiana to be listed in the Morton Register of Arboreta and has achieved particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

Ed Leuck Arboretum
Ed Leuck Arboretum

"I hope this (accreditation) will encourage people to use truly native trees and shrubs and herbaceous plants instead of nursery-stock determined for them by big-box chains," said Dr. Ed Leuck, Centenary Warters Chair of Biology.

The Ed Leuck Louisiana Arboretum spans three acres of Centenary's campus and was founded by Leuck in 1984 at the request of Harry Balcom, Centenary Board of Trustees member, and Dr. Donald Webb, President Emeritus. Leuck planted the first trees in 1985 after a redesign of the area. The collection now comprises 190 woody native plant species, 14 woody exotic plant species, and more than 70 non-woody native plant species.

Centrally located, the Arboretum serves as a unique teaching tool for Centenary classes as well as the Shreveport community. The initial motivation was to beautify the area. The addition of a dam and footpaths helped with this process. Leuck intended to showcase species native to the southeast, with an additional focus on species native to northwest Louisiana.

"I was amazed by the woody plant diversity here," said Leuck. "When a Centenary trustee wanted to establish a modest arboretum on campus in the early 1980's, I jumped at the chance to collect and exchange for local flora."

The Arboretum is open to visitors throughout the year. Year-round education programs along with hands-on science and outdoor exploration are offered as well.

The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in cooperation with American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International. More information is available at www.arbnet.org.