Believe it or not, back in 1858, when Baker University was founded, this entire area was prairie.
The few trees were along the several branches of Tauy Creek that snake through Baldwin City. There were no trees on the Baker campus. Today it is recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
In 2011, Baker was the first university in Kansas to earn the Tree Campus USA distinction for its commitment to promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
Today the largest and probably oldest trees on campus are the Northern Catalpas. One of these grand old trees, which had to be removed recently, was more than 120 years old and was most likely planted sometime around 1882, the year Centenary Hall was built. Centenary Hall is no longer standing, but there are still 14 of these trees with diameters of more than 30 inches.
The Ivan L. Boyd Arboretum consists of the six-block Baldwin City campus proper and was dedicated Oct. 15, 1978. Boyd came to Baker University in the fall of 1941. He was a professor and the chair of the Department of Biology until 1972. He continued to teach as an emeritus faculty member until his death in March 1982. Boyd was instrumental in planting most of the trees that are on the campus today. The arboretum contains specimens of 114 tree species. Perhaps the rarest species on campus is the Ozark Chinkapin, which is native to the Ozarks and is considered a threatened species in Missouri.
If you visit the campus and view the arboretum, download the walking tour map.
If you’d like a virtual view of the arboretum, please take a look at the Google Map. Arboretum specimens are marked as tree icons; clicking an icon will display information about that specimen and a link (in the Image URL field) to a Flickr set of specimen photos.