Strategic Plan Summary


The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden cultivates our natural, horticultural, and historic resources for learning, enjoyment and inspiration.


It is the Arboretum’s vision to serve as a contemporary and compelling public resource that builds upon its traditional strengths in botanical collections, horticultural information, and history.  As a 21st Century public garden, the Arboretum will serve as an educational resource for environmental stewardship, the history of our region, the study of plants, and a place of learning and respite for the people of Southern California.

Executive Summary

The land for the Los Angeles County Arboretum was acquired in 1947 to provide new plants, knowledge and innovation to realize the rich possibilities of the Southern California landscape. While remaining true to its founding purpose, the Arboretum must embrace change if we are to serve a society challenged by seismic economic and technological shifts, increasing needs in public education, and new imperatives in our relationship with the environment.

The need for a flourishing Arboretum is greater than ever.  Home gardeners and landscape professionals enthusiastically embrace environmental stewardship and look to us for inspiration and committed leadership.  An expanding digital world makes direct experiences of the sights, sounds and scents of the natural world ever more essential. The singular historical resources that have long distinguished the Arboretum will attract strong community commitment to improved care and increased educational programming.

The Arboretum is a welcoming environment that will offer increasing beauty, wonder and refreshment to daily visitors as well as to those discovering the Arboretum through education programs, exhibitions, special events and online.  Important new approaches to water conservation and sustainable gardening will be demonstrated in the Arboretum landscape and promoted widely. The Arboretum—beautifully designed and cared for by staff and volunteers—delights, educates and entertains. Person-to-person and technology-enabled services will assist visitors in fully exploring the Arboretum landscape, botanical collections, historic areas, and library. The greater community will respond to and support an institution of exceptional quality and innovation, enabling the Los Angeles County Arboretum to serve Southern California for generations to come.

To meet the challenges of today and of the future, the Arboretum will renew and secure its treasured resources and vital programs through robust earned income and fundraising programs, creative collaborations with diverse community groups, and a highly productive partnership between the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation and the County of Los Angeles.


With a newly focused effort that brings together community support, volunteers, staff and trustees, over the five-year period 2011-2016 the Arboretum will address six key goals:

I.    The Arboretum Visitor Experience

Enhance the Arboretum experience for visitors, students and the other audiences served by our landscape, programs and facilities. Complementing way-finding and interpretation for visitors, exemplary hospitality services will ensure an outstanding experience. Associated improvements to facilities and the larger Arboretum environment are part of this goal.

A.    Develop and implement a comprehensive plan for directional and informational signage and visitor way-finding.

B.    Develop and implement an interpretive master plan for the Arboretum’s living and historic collections that integrates content and messaging specific to plant collections, historical themes, landscape features, and environmental stewardship.

C.    Develop a culture of high quality customer service among all staff members and volunteers as the “front line” team that delivers friendly, professional and efficient service to visitors.

D.    Create a new Arboretum entrance and arrival experience, including new schemes for a visitor information kiosk, courtyard space, and gift shop entrance.

E.    Make Ayres Hall improvements to enhance the functionality of the Arboretum’s primary exhibition hall and large indoor meeting and events space.

F.    Assess opportunities to offer additional amenities and food and beverage options to better serve visitor needs including additional service, dining and restroom locations.

G.     Clarify the role of the gift shop, ensuring that the merchandise offered reinforces education and hospitality goals.

II.    Environmental Stewardship

Address the environmental challenges facing the region by developing landscape exhibits, educational programs and informational services that support community commitment to water conservation, space and energy efficiency, and sustainable practices in our everyday lives.

A.    Implement a range of operational and design changes to enhance and demonstrate methods of water conservation.

B.    Demonstrate sustainable approaches to urban food production for visiting school groups, students and visitors.

C.    Showcase outstanding plants and design approaches for private and public Mediterranean climate landscapes through new gardens in key visitor areas.

D.    Provide effective management for Baldwin Lake, the Arboretum’s central natural feature, largest single consumer of water, and focal point for significant chapters of land use history.

E.    Conserve the Engelmann Oak Grove, the Arboretum’s premier natural heritage asset and a priority for stewardship management.

III. Cultural Heritage

Celebrate the rich history of the Arboretum through interpretive programs and effective stewardship for our historic structures, landscape, and other heritage resources. Conservation measures will be combined with increased interpretation and instruction to bring to life our singular chapters of history.

A.    Develop and implement a Historic Landscape Management Plan to enhance appropriate management and design of core heritage landscapes.

B.    Improve stewardship and preservation of the historic structures.

C.    Develop an interpretive plan, materials and delivery platforms to expand interpretation of the historic structures and landscape.

D.    Develop a Historical Collections Management Plan which sets policy and defines procedures for optimal storage conditions, materials, collections management and de-accessioning.

IV.    Plant and Library Collections

Enhance the botanical, historical, and library resources essential to realizing the aims of the Arboretum’s mission.  Effective collections stewardship and innovative development that responds to community learning interests will ensure the ongoing vital role of Arboretum collection resources.

Plant Collections 

A.    Enhance major geographical and botanical collections and ensure there is a plan in place for refreshing collections nearing the end of their life cycle.

B.     Assure necessary capacity to support living collections through plant production nursery process; maintain/upgrade nursery.

C.    Complete a comprehensive Conservation and Security Plan for major, specialty and new collections and begin implementation.

D.    Develop collections and landscape management protocols that address weed and invasive plant issues, integrated animal pest and disease monitoring, and drought and disaster preparedness.

E.     Enhance plant and non-plant object mapping program to make it more efficient, user friendly and accessible to the staff and public.

E.    Enhance plant labeling, mapping and herbarium practices to meet current curatorial standards.

Library Collections

G.    Renovate the Arboretum Library Building to create an inviting space for the Southern California community to explore the body of print, electronic, and graphic media.

H.    Expand public services to support Arboretum positioning as “the place for plant information in Southern California.”

I.    Integrate state-of-the art library technologies and infrastructure and prepare for future technologies.

J.    Complete and implement a Collections Development Policy and Management Plan in collaboration with staff collections managers and educators.  Include rationale for priorities in future collections development.

V. Education

Develop new programs addressing emerging educational needs in the public schools and the sustainable gardening and landscape community, while enhancing existing programs in Southern California gardening, horticulture, and the culinary and botanical arts. New landscape exhibits, community partnerships and on-line resources are essential to this goal.

A.     Enhance quality and deepen the impact of the Arboretum’s 3rd-6th grade school programs in support of California Content Standards.

B.  Expand school-day, after school and summer educational experiences, leveraging partnerships with schools, youth development programs, scouts, environmental groups, home schoolers, arts and community-based organizations.

C.    Explore ways to collaborate and deepen strategic partnerships with LAEEF (Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair), plant societies, college and university programs, and others who educate regarding plants, landscapes, environmental stewardship, and California history.

D.    Capitalize on bird sanctuary and wildlife aspects of the Arboretum through programming, promotion and partnerships with related organizations such as Audubon and The Nature Conservancy.

E.     Better meet the growing demand for adult education classes, workshops, and events.

F.    Develop guidelines for Arboretum-developed special events, including desired purpose, how they relate to the Arboretum mission, and an ideal range, frequency and schedule of events.

VI.     Organizational Capacity and Resources

Build organizational capacity to advance the Arboretum’s mission and ensure a strong future by leveraging the Los Angeles County and Arboretum Foundation partnership.  Earned income and community giving will be increased through action plans for Foundation board development, fundraising, and marketing, as well as an organizational business plan. Improvements in information technology and telecommunications, operations, volunteer engagement, and staffing are equally important to our future.
Membership and Fund Development

A.    Create and implement a comprehensive long-range plan for significant growth in gift programs, membership and sponsorship programs.


B.    Establish and implement an annual communications plan to increase participation in mission programs, community involvement and support.

Earned Income

C.     Develop a business plan for the gift shop, wedding photography and special events that assesses market opportunities and increases support for the Arboretum mission.

Board Development 

D.    Under the leadership of the Foundation Executive Committee, further develop the board to ensure effective governance, fiduciary oversight, and increasing support for mission programs  and strategic plan implementation.

Volunteer Engagement

E.    Develop a comprehensive plan for growing volunteer engagement to strengthen public services and overall organizational capacity.

L.A. County/Arboretum Foundation Partnership

F.     Complete a new Los Angeles County/Arboretum Foundation operating agreement that maximizes the contributions of the two partners to advance the Arboretum mission.

Staffing and Systems

G.    Create and implement a staffing plan that supports landscape care, development, education and other key strategic needs.

© 2015 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden • 626.821.3222 • 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007 • Website Design by Kirk Projects.

© 2015 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Phone: 626.821.3222

301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA, 91007

Site Design by Kirk Projects