Hamilton College is located on a verdant, 1,350-acre campus with 800 acres of undeveloped land. The College traces its landscape-preservation commitment to 1850, when Oren and Nancy Root bought a building near the center of campus. They named it “The Homestead” and set about planting trees, shrubs and flowers in the cleared pasture around their house, an area that came to be called the Root Glen.
Root Glen Entrance
Hamilton College Root Glen

The Root family established the Root Glen Foundation in the 1950s, and transferred ownership of the glen to Hamilton in the early 1970s, with four long-term goals:

  1. Perpetuate the glen as a place of beauty for public enjoyment
  2. Use the land for appropriate educational purposes
  3. Encourage programs that conserve rare and threatened plants
  4. Promote interest in the study of birds

The Root Glen is now the centerpiece of the Hamilton College Arboretum, which continues the tradition begun by the Root family. The arboretum's mission is:

To preserve the stately historic campus landscape, to build upon the diversity of the collection with sustainable species and to reinforce the aesthetic character of the campus. The arboretum seeks to provide visitors with a broader understanding of the campus landscape and promote long-term stewardship of the environment.

The Hamilton College Arboretum boasts an inventory of 2281 separate trees, of which the maple is the dominant species with 431 individual trees at an average trunk diameter of 14 inches.  While it goes without saying that trees “pay us back” in stormwater control, property value enhancements, energy conservation and air quality improvements through carbon dioxide sequestration, the National Tree Benefit Calculator actually allows us to determine a dollar value on such environmental enhancements.  According to the calculator, a 14 inch maple tree provides an overall financial benefit of $113 per year, or $48,700 for the Arboretum’s 431 maples.  Extrapolated to the 2281 trees across all of the Arboretum’s tree species, that’s nearly $258,000 per year in financial benefit to Hamilton College—which is a lot of GREEN!!


Contact Name

Brian Hansen

Director of Environmental Protection, Safety and Sustainability

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