Protecting the Majesty of the Southern Appalachian mountains

Visitors to the mountain region may not recognize that many of the same factors creating our beautiful landscape contribute directly to the botanical diversity found here. Slopes facing in all directions, dramatic elevation changes, wet and dry climatic and micro-climatic patterns, variation in soil types, and the history of glaciation all contribute to the treasure trove of botanicals found here. Of course, conservation efforts – research, cataloging plant specimens, banking seed – to preserve this “natural trust” are important. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s more than that. Society’s future health and wellness may depend on it. The Arboretum uses state of the art technologies to affect this protection through its seed banking and extract programs, then leveraging these efforts into new discoveries, new products, new companies and new jobs. That’s conservation that pays!

Conservation, though, extends well past the plants.

The first 30 years of Arboretum development has occurred during a time of terms such as sustainability, energy efficiency, and resilience. Consequently, conservation of all resources remains a priority today as it has in the past.

The N.C. Office of State Construction awarded the Arboretum its annual award for “Excellence in the Built Environment.” The N.C. Energy Office has singled out the Arboretum for focus and success in conserving electricity on campus. It’s not unusual to find geothermal heating, water recycling and conservation strategies in our buildings, nor should you be surprised to find one of the first green roofs in state government, or advanced digital communication, or time-saving technologies. Why does the Arboretum do these things? Each strategy entails considerations of economics, function, aesthetics and environment. That’s conservation that makes sense!

At the end of the day, each drop of water saved, the fewer miles driven, the kilowatts unspent all translate to broader capacity to deliver program value to guests, students and members. The Arboretum’s conservation program savings — in addition to being responsible — fund things. Important things. Things that couldn’t be done without freeing funds elsewhere. It’s a noble pursuit: conserving precious resources to deliver service. That’s conservation that serves!

And finally, as a work culture committed to team concepts and operations, the Arboretum mines the collective intellect of its staff, boards, volunteers, students, members and guests. The Arboretum believes in continuous improvement and in replacing the less efficient with the more efficient, while also never losing sight of the importance of a culture that is beneficial and caring. Its customer service commitment starts internally with one another. Only then can the Arboretum excel externally. Thus, conserving cultural resources such as art, craft, and environmental design is a means of inspiring staff and visitor alike. A healthy culture informs and magnifies the ability to serve its clientele with excellence. That’s conservation that endures!