Strategic Plan - The Arboretum
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Strategic Plan 2017-2022 Summary

Developed by the Arboretum Foundation board and senior staff team, the 2017-2022 strategic plan seeks to achieve new standards of excellence in gardens, programs, collections, and facilities.  Many of the goals reflect the input and needs of the broad community we serve, drawing from the 2011-2016 plan that was based on the input of over 1,800 members, visitors, and L.A. County residents.

Through this plan, we look forward to working with our members, donors, and community to grow the Arboretum as a truly extraordinary place of learning, enjoyment and discovery. We express our heart-felt appreciation to the many people who have enabled this great Arboretum to adapt and grow, and join us in commitment to a future of continuing success.  We invite you to review the plan and  contact Richard Schulhof, Arboretum CEO,, or Sylvia Rosenberger, Chief Development Officer, with any questions or comments.


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 resource for environmental stewardship and education in the sciences and history, as well a compelling place of beauty, community, and respite for the people of Southern California.


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 attract strong community commitment to improved stewardship and increased educational programming.

We are committed to presenting a welcoming environment that serves all in our region. Important new approaches to water conservation and sustainable gardening will be demonstrated in the Arboretum landscape and promoted widely. We will provide students of all ages with the information and knowledge needed to build science literacy. 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 a range of 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, the Arboretum will address six key goals:

I.    The Arboretum Visitor Experience

Enhance the Arboretum experience through new wayfinding tools, interpretation programs focused on both plants and history, and updated hospitality facilities and services.

A.    Renovate the visitor complex to celebrate our mid-20th century architecture and greatly enhance the visitor experience.

B.    Develop transportation options that allow visitors of all levels of mobility to comfortably visit and explore the landscape.

C.    Secure additional parking or increase capacity of existing parking to serve the public more effectively and accommodate increased visitation.

D.    Update and implement Interpretive Master Plan to connect visitors with the educational opportunities of the Arboretum’s living and historic collections, including new digital strategies and wayfinding tools.

II.    Baldwin Lake

Restore Baldwin Lake, the Arboretum’s central natural feature and focal point for significant chapters of cultural and natural history.

A.    Advance the restoration of Baldwin Lake through strategic communications with the community, elected officials, and relevant County and State agencies.

B.    Restore Baldwin-era walls and other historic features, improve water quality, stabilize shorelines, and effectively manage storm water.

III. Cultural Heritage

Celebrate the rich history of the Arboretum through stewardship of our historic structures, landscape, and other heritage resources. Increased interpretation and instruction will bring to life our singular chapters of history.

A.    Establish a systematic approach to preservation management and presentation for historic structures and landscape, including features from both the Baldwin Ranch and mid-20th century periods.

B.    Complete Reid-Baldwin Adobe restoration and associated interpretive programs, providing a rich, new educational experience.

C.    Develop and implement Historical Collections Management Plan to provide optimal storage conditions, materials, and accessioning for artifact collections.

D.    Create exhibits and programs that enable visitors to discover the wealth of history reflected by our gardens, collections, and historic structures.

IV.    Collections

Enhance the botanical and library resources that are essential to the Arboretum’s mission. Ensure the vitality of collection resources through effective stewardship and innovative development that responds to community interests.

Plant Collections 

A.    Enhance and further develop the botanical collections, including the biogeographic collections, core collections of specific groups (palms, cycads, etc.), and the Engelmann oak grove.

B.     Enhance plant collections database to make it more efficient, accurate, user friendly and accessible to the staff and public.

C.    Establish new gardens that demonstrate water conservation and climate-appropriate horticulture.

Library Collections

D.    Expand plant information services for Los Angeles County, including ongoing collections development, increased online resources, and new programs for the community.

V. Education

Address emerging needs in the public schools, while enhancing programs in horticulture, wellness, and the culinary and botanical arts.

A.    Present new classes that reflect current topics and popular trends in each of these areas:

1. Natural Heritage – Foster an appreciation for nature, increased powers of observation and the need to protect our biological diversity.
2. Horticulture & Plants – Share the science and art of gardening.
3. Environmental Stewardship – Address the environmental challenges facing the region.
4. Cultural Heritage – Celebrate the rich history of the Arboretum and Baldwin Ranch.
5. Wellness – Provide opportunities for enhanced fitness, healthy diet, stress-reduction, and contemplation.

B.  Implement new programs to address the needs of students, classroom teachers, self-guided groups, scouting organizations, and families. Partner with schools to support science curricula, and develop new educational opportunities for visiting classrooms.

VI.     Organizational Capacity and Resources

Build organizational capacity to advance the mission through growth in earned income and fundraising, enhanced governance, information technology, marketing, volunteer engagement, and staff resources.

Membership and Fund Development

A.    Achieve significant growth in membership to build community and enhance support.

B.    Integrate databases to increase fundraising capacity and enhance efficiency of admissions, education, and revenue programs.

C.    Implement fundraising plan to achieve the strategic plan goals.

D.   Enhance Arboretum revenues by migration of earned income programs from the County to the Foundation.

Board Development

E.   Ensure effective governance and the capacity to support growth in Arboretum operations and businesses.


F.   Continue to enhance volunteer recruitment, education, and retention efforts to increase docent group and other areas of critical need.


G.   Enhance marketing programs to meet mission goals, increase program participation and build operating revenues.

L.A. County/Arboretum Foundation Partnership

H.    Complete a new Los Angeles County/Arboretum Foundation operating agreement to advance the mission and foster joint stewardship of facilities and infrastructure.

Staffing and Systems

I.    Implement strategies to maximize staff resources and organizational productivity.

Facilities and Infrastructure

J.    Identify and prioritize infrastructure renovations, repairs, and major capital projects.

Strategic Planning

K.   Annually assess progress in accomplishing goals, in accordance with designated priorities, timelines, and measures of success.

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© 2019 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden • 626.821.3222 • 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007 • Website Design by Kirk Projects.

© 2019 Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens

Phone: 626.821.3222

301 N. Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA, 91007

Site Design by Kirk Projects