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Located in Collegeville, Minnesota, Saint John's Arboretum encompasses over 2,500 acres (10 km2) settled by Benedictine monks in 1864. Since its founding, the abbey has been guided by the Benedictine principles of stability, hospitality, and stewardship. In 1997, this longstanding principle of stewardship led the monks to designate the lands of Saint John's University as a natural arboretum. Saint John's Arboretum is advantageously located in the unique area of terminal moraines (glacial deposits) that distinguish central Minnesota. The varied terrain and its location between the hardwoods and prairies creates considerable diversity in the habitats found there.
Located on the transition zone between the prairies to the southwest and hardwoods to the northeast, Saint John's is home to a variety of plants and animals.
The habitat diversity at Saint John's allows for a great diversity of wildlife as well. Water birds, birds of prey, shore birds, warblers, and many other kinds of birds can be found here, including many rare species such as sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, cerulean warblers, and others.
In the spring of 2002, Saint John's received the final documents certifying that the forests on the Abbey's 2,830 acres (11.5 km2) are "well managed." This high accolade follows over a year of extensive review and audits by SmartWood, an affiliate of the internationally recognized Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Completion of this audit puts Saint John's in the forefront of the "green" certification movement.
Educational programs at the arboretum annually serve over 8,000 public, private, and homeschooled preK-12 students through on-site field experiences and in-class curricula.