The Linnaeus Arboretum, on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, United States, contains a number of botanical gardens and an arboretum. The arboretum is named for Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist. Its first trees were planted as small seedlings in 1973 on agricultural land.
Planning for the Gustavus Adolphus College Arboretum began in 1972. In January 1973, President Frank Barth announced the dedication of land lying west of campus for the purpose of developing an arboretum and wildlife area. Dr. Charles Mason, Associate Professor of Biology, oversaw the project. Project plans consisted of an initial fifty-five acres to be planted with grass and trees as well as an anticipated expansion to 130 acres (0.53 km2) if the project proved successful. In 1975, a master plan for the arboretum was developed which included three natural ecosystems and a formal garden, and Mason was appointed arboretum Director. The arboretum was home to more than 1,600 trees by 1978, and plans for the creation of two ponds were underway.
In 1986, Borgeson cabin was moved to the arboretum from Norseland, MN, and the Melva Lind Interpretive Center was completed during 1987. The center includes office space for arboretum staff, interpretive educational exhibits, and a meeting space. In 1988, the arboretum was officially named the Linnaeus Arboretum after renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. The Friends of the Linnaeus Arboretum formed during 1989; members of the group participate in volunteer and educational activities. Jim Gilbert became director of the Arboretum in 1998, and upon his retirement in 2005, the Jim Gilbert Teaching Pond was created. In 2003, the first Linnaeus Symposium was held in conjunction with the celebration of the Arboretum's thirty year anniversary. The Symposium hosted renowned ethnobotanist Wade Davis.
Dr. Cindy Johnson-Groh became Executive Director of the Linnaeus Arboretum in 2006, and in 2007 the Johnson Center for Environmental Innovation was added to the Interpretive Center.
The arboretum was designed to represent the shape and ecosystem layout of the state of Minnesota. Therefore, the three major natural ecosystems found in Minnesota are represented in the arboretum: the conifer forest in the north, the prairie in the south and west, and the deciduous forest in between. A fourth area surrounding the Melva Lind Interpretive Center includes cultivated gardens and trees that were introduced into the state from other regions of the globe.
Linnaeus Arboretum is home to twelve official gardens which are as follows:
The arboretum also has a number of other attractions which are as follows: