The Arboretum is being donated to Clinton Community College-read the official statement here:
The Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) Board of Trustees has approved a Letter of Intent with Bickelhaupt Arboretum in Clinton for the donation of the arboretum to the college. The action came during the board’s regularly scheduled meeting Monday night.
During the next few weeks the college and arboretum will be working through the details of the proposal that would ultimately lead to the transfer of Bickelhaupt Arboretum and its assets to EICC. The arboretum would become part of EICC’s Clinton Community College (CCC) and its Paul B. Sharar Foundation.
“We are extremely pleased and excited that the Bickelhaupt family is willing to make such a generous donation to the college,” said CCC President Karen Vickers. “The Bickelhaupt Arboretum has long been a tradition in the Clinton community and the surrounding area. We are looking forward to carrying that rich tradition into the future.”
The Bickelhaupt Arboretum is a privately funded 14-acre outdoor museum of select-labeled trees, shrubs, ground covers, perennials and annuals. Each year the arboretum welcomes more than 25,000 visitors from around the world.
The Bickelhaupt Arboretum was developed by Robert (Bob) and Frances Bickelhaupt in 1970 in response to the Dutch Elm Disease, which destroyed the majority of large street trees in Clinton. Supervision of the arboretum was later passed to their daughter, Francie B. Hill, who continues to serve as President of its Board of Directors.
“With a goal of developing and perpetuating an outdoor museum, my parents’ directive was to look toward an educational institution to guide the Bickelhaupt Arboretum through the future,” said Hill. “My older daughter, Shawn Hill-Lamb, as Trustee of the Bickelhaupt Estate, has spent the last year initiating, facilitating and finalizing matters in order to bring us to today and to this point in the donation process of the Arboretum to EICC.
“The donation of the Bickelhaupt Arboretum to EICC and the Paul B. Sharar Foundation fulfills my parents’ plans and intention for continued access for Clinton residents,” she said. “At the same time it opens the door to so many more students and life-learners for educational opportunities.”
The arboretum provides award-winning collections, classes, tours, a lending library and museum display of native animals to its visitors. It has been guided through more than four decades by a Board of Directors that has implemented computerized labels and expert plant record keeping, developed on- and off-site educational and volunteer program opportunities, created internships and propelled the arboretum’s growth and development.
“The early partnership between the arboretum and Clinton Community College in surveying, mapping and later in continuing education classes helped us with the decision-making process,” Hill said. “Through the years, Bob and Frances progressed from actively mowing, weeding and pruning to becoming elder statespersons nationally with their publications on tree care, record keeping and equipment maintenance.
“Into the ninth decade of their lives, they viewed the collections from a golf cart, finding joy in the friendship of the cadre of volunteers and through welcoming new programs. I am so very proud of this gift to the Clinton community.”
Vickers said the college plans to continue with the many activities currently underway at the arboretum and add additional classes of its own in the future. More specifics about new educational programs to be offered are currently under consideration and will be determined at a later date.
EICC includes Clinton, Muscatine and Scott Community colleges along the Mississippi River in eastern Iowa. The district regularly boasts fall enrollments of more than 8,000 college credits students and more than 30,000 students annually in its Business and Industry, Continuing Education and Adult Education classes.