Rows of perfectly manicured grass surrounded by blossoming Mountain Laurel is the first thing you seen when entering the Connecticut College Arboretum.
The college owned hundreds of acres of land that it decided to set aside for the community and students in 1931. Through the years, the land has served as a sanctuary for students and as a research laboratory just steps from campus. Today, the arboretum is home to hundreds of native species of plants.
"It's pretty special for the college," Glenn Dreyer, director of the arboretum, said. "It preserves a lot of land around the campus that's really used as a laboratory for teaching and research."
Dreyer started his career as an ecology graduate student in the early 1980s and was brought to work in the arboretum after he graduated.
The arboretum is open to the public. During the summer, volunteers offer tours of the grounds at 2 p.m. Self-guided tour brochures are also available.
What makes the space unique is not the type of plants, it's the number of different species in a small area. The arboretum tries to have as many eastern North America native plants in one spot as possible, which can be helpful to certain people.
"To have them in one place and have them labeled so people can figure out what they are is a great aid for gardeners and landscape architects," Dreyer said.
To learn more about the Connecticut College Arboretum you can visit the Web site.