Welcome to the Gavilan College Department of Biology.
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.
The arboretum includes areas in the southern part of the campus. The area that is included in the arboretum is highlighted on the map on the back of this page. Much, although not all of the area is accessible to persons with disabilities. You can start your arboretum tour anywhere within the arboretum, although it is probably easiest to begin in Parking Lot H (the lot closest to the tennis courts).
Plants labels include the following information:
- Identification number and year of planting
- Scientific name
- Common name
- Geographic origin
The arboretum is divided into areas to help you to locate plants. The identification number includes an abbreviation for the areas below:
- TC=tennis courts
- DP=duck pond
- SB=science buildings
- AD=administration parking lot (lot F)
- GS=Gavilan Creek (Streambed)
- UP=upper pond
- UL=upper parking lot (lot E)
- SC=student center
- GC=golf course
We hope you enjoy your visit.
Please direct questions to rmorales@ gavilan.edu