With its winding walking paths, historic central fountain, abundant green space and dozens of benches, Wheaton’s Adams Park has been a favorite community spot for generations. The next time you visit, you can appreciate that you’re in an arboretum.
Adams Park, the historic 2.5-acre City park located adjacent to the Wheaton Public Library and just north of downtown Wheaton, recently received official Level 1 Arboretum Accreditation by the ArbNet Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum. The City’s Forestry Division received this designation by achieving specific standards of professional practices for arboretums and botanic gardens. Qualifications cover areas including the variety of plant species, having an arboretum plan, accessibility, and staffing to care for the park.
The City of Wheaton’s Public Works Forestry & Public Grounds Division’s 9 full-time staff members – several of whom are International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborists – perform the care and maintenance of Adams Park, along with caring for more than 20,000 trees throughout Wheaton.
“Earning this status for Adams Park helps the community recognize what a fantastic public resource we have,” said Forestry Superintendent Jason Ackerlund. “Our goal is to provide a diverse, informational and relaxing natural environment for everyone to enjoy. When you visit the park, you can see and learn about many more types of trees and plants than in your neighborhood.”
In conjunction with this plan, the City also created an online map with information on each of the park’s 138 trees, of which there are 53 different species.
“Taking these extra steps to receive accreditation not only helps validate what we know is an outstanding park, but it provides educational opportunities for the community, as well,” said City Manager Michael Dzugan. “This process is another example of the City’s dedication to the environment and Wheaton’s urban forest.”
The Morton Arboretum now lists Adams Park as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboretums, a database of the world’s arboretums and gardens dedicated to woody plants.
The City of Wheaton has maintained Adams park since it was donated to the City by Katherine Adams Wells in 1943. As part of a master plan to make the park more accessible, in 2019 the City completed significant renovations to widen paths and replace stairs with accessible ramps to different park features.
Adams Park is always free and is open to the public year-round.