The Northampton Community College (NCC) Foundation was awarded grants from 1 Percent for Nature, Inc. and Swiftwater Solar, a project of Apex Energy, in order to help NCC Monroe Campus to establish an accredited arboretum, where trees and woody plants are cultivated for scientific and educational purposes. 

1 Percent for Nature, Inc. awarded NCC $500 for the purpose of making signage that identifies and describes each of the trees. NCC was one of five recipients of their 2021 grants. 

Tree Signage to Identify Trees on Monroe Campus

“Keeping this area beautiful is not only good for ourselves, but also for our businesses and the local economy. People come to the Poconos because the landscape is beautiful and offers great places to relax and play. An investment in retaining Monroe County’s wildness is an investment in our economic future,” according to the 1% for Nature Board. 

Swiftwater Solar funded scholarships for students interested in taking research biology courses that will work hands-on with the arboretum project at Monroe Campus. Two students have already taken advantage of the scholarships to date.  

NCC Bethlehem Campus has a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and was added to the Morton Register of Arboreta in 2019 through the efforts of NCC biology professors, Charlie Rinehimer and Karen Klein. The Bethlehem Campus’s arboretum, spanning the entire 206-acre campus, hosts over 47 species of trees. 

NCC biology professors, John Leiser and Kim Rosengrant are heading the project on Monroe Campus.  

Monroe Campus foliage

“We are using the model of NCC’s Arboretum on the Bethlehem Campus and are going to seek Arboretum Status through ArbNet, a respected accrediting agency for arboreta. Ultimately, the goal will be to develop the entire NCC Monroe Campus into an interactive outdoor classroom,” said Leiser. 

Leiser, Rosengrant and Monroe students are currently working on the first step, which is identifying, cataloging, and mapping the trees on campus. They will then overlay the tree map for campus visitors who want to learn and enjoy the natural landscape where the campus sits. 

Leiser with students in one of his classes pre-pandemic

The Monroe Campus Arboretum is a student-centered project that speaks to the initiatives around sustainability and ecosystem studies at NCC Monroe. A handful of academically strong students who are interested in pursuing careers in plant ecology can become more deeply involved as research coordinators through the research biology courses. They will supervise teams of students to identify noteworthy species of trees found on campus.  Students from field botany, field ecology, general ecology courses, and science club will assist on the journey to becoming an accredited arboretum.  

Leiser is excited about the future of this project. “A detailed mapping of campus flora will be developed which will promote forest diversity and provide students and visitors alike with educational opportunities centered on native Pocono species and habitats.”