Education

Is the Arboretum in Jeopardy?

The Observer recently received alarming news from members of the CSUF faculty and members of the Friends of the Arboretum, regarding the fate of this beloved local landmark.

According to Scott Hewitt, professor of chemistry and a member of the Friends of the Fullerton Arboretum, on Thursday March 7th, the CSUF administration asked the academic senate to vote on whether they would be okay with the Arboretum being completely gone, or just partially gone, to make room for dorms. The senate decided not to vote because they were given too little information, and felt “kind of blindsided.”

Hewitt also cited a map of the campus being used by the administration for the new Master Plan, which shows nothing where the Arboretum is.

According to Professor Mark Stohs, Chair of the Academic Senate, there is no one final Master Plan yet — issues are still in the discussion and “planning” stage.

A joint agreement between the university and the city for funding the Arboretum runs out in 2020 and the university is coming up with a new vision for the next several years for the campus, which may possibly involve replacing the Arboretum with dorms or other facilities.

“At the moment my understanding is that thoughts of ‘eliminating’ the arboretum are ‘off the table,’ though I also believe that options being considered include using some part of the arboretum land,” Stohs wrote in an e-mail to the Observer.

“I’d rather have them take some of the parking lots and make dorms on that, and then they could put up another parking structure if they needed more parking spaces,” said Hewitt, “Why would you want to get rid of something that everybody loves? To me, the Arboretum is the best thing in Fullerton. It’s accredited as a level four Arboretum, and there are only 25 such accredited arboretums in the world.”

The Fullerton Arboretum is a benefit not just to the campus community, but the surrounding community as well. There are numerous events and programs, such as third graders who visit the Heritage House as part of their local curriculum.

“Students go there for their biological science classes. Every college on campus has classes that interact with the Arboretum,” said Hewitt, “I have two courses that interact with the Arboretum. The Arboretum has internships for students. It’s just an awesome resource for the community as well.”

On April 10th from 10am-2pm, the University will hold a public forum regarding the new Master Plan, and how this could potentially affect the future of the Fullerton Arboretum. The location of the event has not yet been announced, but those interested may visit the school’s Calendar for updates.

The open house is a good place and time to have people express their views on the future of the Fullerton Arboretum.

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34 replies »

  1. As a CSUF alumnus I’m pretty upset they’re considering this. Getting rid of this is irreversible. And this will not ease the student housing issues, nor will it make parking better. There are two huge new structures built since I graduated.

    I vote no. Also holding a public forum in the middle of the workday is telling. Alumni likely won’t be able to attend due to work. That was hardly an accident.

    • First, the item that was considered in the Senate last week was a “statement of opinion.” The Senate wasn’t debating the Arboretum, but rather, given the funding situation, was debating asking the campus for its opinions to (hopefully) be considered as the fate of the Arboretum is decided. It was dropped because we felt the question wasn’t a good measure of opinions. This really doesn’t have to do with the merits of either keeping or changing the Arboretum.

      Second, the reason why the question is coming up is because of how the City of Fullerton had been partially funding the Arboretum until now. The City funded it through the Redevelopment Agency. The problem is that the state got rid of those a few years ago, so the City would have to use general funds if they were to continue funding it. The City has basically told the campus that the funds won’t be coming. This funding shortfall is about a quarter million dollars per year. Various folks on campus heard about this, which is why the Senate considered asking the question.

      None of this says it’s a good or a bad idea to keep the Arboretum. But, like anything in the world, there are tradeoffs.

      • It is so obviously a bad idea. Why on earth would such a short-sighted solution even seem to be a reasonable alternative? Perhaps because parking has become yet another third-rail at CSUF. Rather than having an open discussion about how to solve problems in a sustainable way, the administration wants to take what they think is the path of least resistance. I hope that our community rallies to show that there is resistance to this plan. If the Arboretum is damaged, the people responsible will be long remembered for this stupidity, and long after the dorm they build is demolished.

        How morally and intellectually bankrupt to bulldoze a farm and orchard to put a dorm next to one of the busiest freeways in the country. How many administrators live next to the freeway? This is a public university with a stated commitment to sustainability, social justice, and bettering the community, not the Irvine Co.

    • Lisa! I understand and I will be there with my family to let them know how we feel about the Arboretum. I highly suggest posting this info on your Facebook/Instagram/Twitter to encourage others to attend on April 10th😃 Lets Rally!!!!!!

  2. I can’t believe this is even being debated! What is wrong with Fullerton politicians??? Is everyone single one of them owned by the developers? 🙁 We must fight to stop this!

    • The first time when their I saw quite few students taking pictures with phone ask them is for class they told me yes. Plus I really enjoy see different tree I will hardly see and plant that I never seen plus it so peaceful and relaxing if just want watch different 🦆 and 🐦 plus see butterflies and 🦎 ,rabbit plus part of nature and walk path are good too. My sis law loves their two with nephew niece enjoy very much that how found out about it.

  3. I graduated from CSF in 1968. I so admired my friends who were instrumental in setting up the Arboretum. I wish I had been more involved at the time.

    I have housed international students from Cal State Fullerton for the last 15 years.I usually had three students each semester. Now that program has been eliminated, and the international students do not have the option of a homestay program.

    My point is this:There is a lot of residential housing already available in the community. I have many friends near the college who like to rent rooms at a reasonable price.The housing office will not even allow us to post flyers.

    What a shortsighted decision it would be to get rid of the Arboretum for more housing. Once that land is gone it can never be regained. What a foolish decision when we live in an area already covered with so much cement.
    😪

    Lynda Dunmar Loe

  4. I take my high school AP Biology students to the Arboretum every year for docent-led tours. Save the Arboretum! It is a fascinating place full of education. It is irreplaceable.

  5. There is enough housing. From what I understand of the Cal State system, they accept local students first. The CS and UCs have become a business and building outrageous facilities costing tax payers and students. It must stop. And stop brainwashing students that liberal is a good thing. It should be non-partisan and actually a freedom to think and experience to reason what is reasonable.

    • You need to change the channel from Fox News. If universities professors lean liberal its likely because they have expansive insights based on history, investigation, knowledge and reason. The building of more dorms by the administration would be a typical conservative capitalist venture to bring more money directly to the university from those who attend to make up for less revenue coming from the state, and those who (think they) don’t benefit from educating our populace.

      • Who said I watched Fox news? I dont watch any commercial news outlets because it’s biased. I just want facts. If you knew the facts, the head of UC is a liberal and she hid funds. Napolitano came from Homeland Security. And I have a daughter in a UC and its ridiculous. They ask what her sexual orientation is in her profile, race, etc. It’s none of their business. Privacy should mean privacy. Their social media blast are biased, promoting a certain race. I think promoting a race subconsciously divides people. And why is sexual orientation given so much attention? It is ridiculous. There is a banner that flashes on the front page of students’ school page. And regarding if you actually see the itemized bill from UC, it is ridiculous. They bill each student for a new gym. It looks like a concert hall in downtown LA. This kind of money spent on s gym and my daughter has not been there once. So now, they are thinking of expanding to bring in more students… If it was coming out of your own pocket.

      • I don’t watch Fox News, but I can tell you that academics don’t live in the real world. I have read some of the papers written by academics about how things are, and boy, are they out of touch with reality. They live in ivory towers in their minds where everything can be explained by nurture problems and everyone is a victim. GET REAL. This kind of rationalization is just rational lies to themselves and the world on how they would LIKE the world to work, not how it does. So don’t tell me they have expansive insights. That is just garbage. Man up. Take responsibility for your decisions. That is what should be taught, but is not. It was taught at one time, but it is not socially acceptable to tell the truth anymore.

  6. Typical liberal BS at its “finest.” Pretend to care about the environment, etc. but when it comes down to it all they really care about is making money with over-priced housing to indoctrinate a bunch more useful idiots. Trust me, us Conservatives are all against any plans to get rid of the arboretum! For the rest of you, maybe it’s time to re-think your brain-washed allegiances!

  7. $250K per year for the Arboretum is about 0.0006 or six ten-thousandths of CSUF’s annual budget of about $437M, which would be about $45 per year for a family with a household income of $75K. $250K is the salary and benefits for one mid-level administrator. Where are the priorities when such a tiny fraction of the budget is too much to preserve a great community treasure. This is the kind of information the public needs to know and to inform those in power that they know it.

  8. The arboretum is beautiful. I am an alumni and I bring my young son here often. We see young families, students, and people of all ages and walks of life enjoying the peaceful environment. We need this slice of nature and history and I can’t believe the administration is even considering getting rid of it.

  9. This is a special place to so many from CSUF alumni, high school students, and Fullerton citizens. I was lucky enough to spend lots of time here as a child learning about nature and as an adult who recently graduated from CSUF. I also met my now husband at the arboretum and we had our wedding here. I vote no!

    • Those with power to make this decision at CSUF and city government need to hear from community members–phone, email, social media, attending forums.

  10. I am an Alumni (1972) and this place has changed a lot since I attended. I value the Arboretum and support keeping it untouched. I think there are other and better ways to achieve wringing a little more space out of what is there. Just an aerial view of CSUF tells me how much space is being wasted on single level parking. Everywhere else in the County they are building multi-story parking structures and yet here I see nothing but ground level parking. What a waste. Condense the parking and you will have plenty of room for more dorms (if you think you really need them) and more parking. And I see plenty of “quad” areas that can be used for some office space. Please don’t take the hands-on educational opportunities the Arboretum affords not just to Fullerton but to the entire County. It is an amazing and magical place for me and everyone I know who visits, a little slice of tranquility and awe next to a busy freeway. AND, it helps support an ecosystem – a link to our own survival (think insects, bees, birds….). You lose this and the closest one would be UC Riverside. CSUF would be retrograding. Shameful.

  11. CSUF has the second smallest campus in the CSU system. The City refuses to continue funding despite using University property as a city park. Simple :A smaller version Arboretum. Why should students sacrifice their land when they can’t even find parking which they paid so much for to attend classes they can barely afford?

  12. The area where the arboretum is now was originally designated as parking. Short-sighted green weenies failed to anticipate future growth. They put their arboretum right next to the busiest, noisiest freeway in town, and now there’s not enough parking. Never an “urban oasis” or any such thing. Why not relocate it down the street to Craig Park or Tri-Cities Park, where it makes more sense?

    • Green weenies! With that kind of snarky attitude, why pretend you like the arboretum at all? You and your haters can stay home in front of Fox News!

    • I have spent countless hours at the arboretum and have never run into the issue of hearing the freeway, so I’m not sure that “noisiest freeway in town” helps your argument. Just saying…

  13. Tha Arboretum is a resource not only for the students and faculty attending CSUF, but for the surrounding communities as well. It can be used educationally, as well as recreationally. It’s such a peaceful place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, and it would be a shame to see it replaced. There are other practical solutions to the issues of more parking and more dorms.

  14. Like many other crowded places, CSUF needs to build vertically rather than horizontally. Parking structures are the answer. The arboretum is an invaluable resource that has positively inspired millions of people; it needs to be conserved in perpetuity.
    And you people who are trying to pull in liberal bashing and conservative cheerleading … are you Russian bots? Don’t bring your divisive, griping BS into this discussion, thank you very much.
    Suzanne Hofstetter
    CSUF alumnus
    Past Volunteer for the Fullerton Arboretum
    Lifetime Fullerton Resident
    Forever Fan of as much green space as possible!!!

  15. The arboretum is beautiful we need beauty not more concrete buildings please don’t jeopardize our environment for profit it’s done too much everyday it’s one area that give so much happiness to so many people please don’t take it away

  16. The Dr. George C. Clark Home (1896) is on the Arboretum property. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the California Register of Historical Resources and is also listed as a California Point of Historical Interest. It appears that the Arboretum is also the site of the first Valencia orange grove in Orange County. Do we really care so little about our natural and cultural resources that we would consider destroying or diminishing these local treasures?

  17. Please head to this link to sign the petition to stop the destruction of the Fullerton arboretum.
    We also have information of when and where the public forum will be held. Due to interest, they’ve decided to extend the forum later into the day.
    http://chng.it/sKwXG8H2pN

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