News Flash

Arboretum & NCSU Extension Service

Posted on: July 27, 2023

New Hanover Arboretum wins national award for sustainability

I had the pleasure and privilege of attending the American Public Garden Association’s annual conference in downtown Fort Worth, Texas – The Cowtown – where the west begins. Each year the conference is held in a different city.

Kevin Cassel accepting award

This year’s conference theme was “New Horizons Rising From Roots,” which was a look into the future on how to be a public garden that serves diverse audiences, stays ahead of emerging trends, and cements the association and its member gardens as the places people should come to learn about the conservation and appreciation of plants.

It was my first time attending this conference and it was four days packed full of education and networking There was an opportunity to visit and tour the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden to compare notes. Their gardens are exquisite, and I encourage you to visit if you ever find yourself in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Congratulations to the entire staff there for creating and maintaining such a beautiful place. If you’re a member of one of the many public gardens, be sure to take advantage of your reciprocal admissions program benefits. 

Next year’s conference will be in Boston, the theme will be “Rooted in Resilience: A Sustainable Future for Gardens.”

North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s New Hanover County Center and Arboretum was awarded The Sustainability Award by the American Public Garden Association which recognizes an institutional member for their outstanding dedication and achievements in promoting sustainability through their programs, operations, facilities and/or research. So, kudos to all our citizens and guests who participate in our sustainable practices as we all work together for a healthier and sustainable future.

On behalf of all the staff here at the arboretum, we want to thank you for choosing to bring a refillable water bottle, composting your food scraps, and putting your refuse in the appropriate waste stream. We want to thank you for dropping off your Halloween pumpkins to be composted and fed to local livestock. To all the students at our local schools participating in Garbage to Gardens – thank you. To all the home gardeners who emphasize planting native species and have participated in our Nature at Home program – thank you! To all our user groups who utilize compostable single-use service-ware – thank you. We hope our battery-operated equipment has made your visit more enjoyable with lower noise and cleaner air.  With your help, receiving this award was possible and with your continued support, we can do so much more.

person using a leaf blower

We are striving to build upon this award. So, I pledge that we will continue to serve the citizens and guests of New Hanover County and surrounding communities with research-based education. We will continue to be a model facility and gardens showcasing proper waste diversion, stormwater mitigation, and responsible horticulture. Visit once and visit often, the arboretum is free and open to public every day from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Kevin Cassel is the grounds maintenance supervisor for the New Hanover County Arboretum, located at 6206 Oleander Drive in Wilmington. He can be reached at or 910-798-7660