Gavilan College Arboretum
The mission of the Gavilan College Arboretum is to promote public awareness of the unique and sustainable landscape at Gavilan College through fostering of educational, research and conservation opportunities.
The arboretum was opened in 2013, although most plantings date back to 1966, when the Gilroy campus opened. The landscape at the Gilroy campus of Gavilan College has long been recognized as unique. The late Ray Williams, a Watsonville nurseryman, designed the landscape. He was ahead of his time in designing a landscape that is consistent with its surroundings. He incorporated sustainable, drought-tolerant native and non-native plants. He was especially interested in Australian plants and many of the Australian plants were grown at his nursery.
The arboretum, where trees and perennial plants are identified by labels, is a small part of the campus, but the plantings of Ray Williams are found throughout the campus. The arboretum gives viewers the opportunity to see mature plants that thrive in our local climate. Some specimens are among the largest of their species in California. One tree, an Omeo Gum (Eucalyptus neglecta), is the current national champion tree. This means that it is the largest known example of its species in the United States. This tree can be seen at the southeast corner of the administration parking lot.
The arboretum is an on-going project. There is continuing identification of existing plants as well as new plantings. Students use the arboretum in their classes and assist in the development of a plant database. The arboretum is open to the public whenever the campus is open.
Future plans include a garden devoted to California Natives.