The Glen Arboretum occupies approximately 12 acres of wooded area within the boundaries of Towson University. The Glen was dedicated in 1936 to provide an educational experience for the college and for students in the Baltimore region. Numerous features, including the pavilion, caretaker’s shed, barbecue areas, picnic tables, sitting benches, trails and walkways, and the botany pond, were established through a grant from the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1933. Originally envisioned as a demonstration garden, numerous plants were established.
In the period from the 1930s to the1960s the Glen was a central part of the social life on campus. Campus activities included May Day celebrations and a series of theatrical productions in open areas performed by the Glen Players.
A Historical and Scientific Resource
In the 1970s the Glen was no longer a central part of campus planning. During this time the Glen continued to be a resource for classes in biology and geology. As a result of efforts by the members of the Department of Biological Sciences, a master plan for the establishment of the Glen was developed by an outside consulting firm. This plan mapped out regions of the Glen to represent various regions of vegetation of Maryland, and it also categorized the historical elements of the Glen. An endowment was established for support of the Glen to which numerous individuals have donated funds.
In 2008 a specific plan for establishing native plants was developed with the goal of planting each species of tree and shrub native to Maryland. In 2006 the university provided funds for the construction of a Challenge Course, operated by Campus Recreation Services. In 2012 the Glen Arboretum Board of Directors was established by the University to oversee development of the Glen.
The Glen continues as a site of ongoing research for students, classes and faculty. A recent external grant was awarded to faculty of the Departments of Chemistry and Department of Physical and Geological Sciences to monitor the chemistry of rainwater runoff as it is filtered through rain gardens constructed in the Glen. Future plans for the Glen involve development of signage for individual species, vegetation of Maryland and the history of the Glen. New foot paths will be created to make the Glen more accessible. Picnic areas will be restored.
The mission of the Glen is 1) to establish and maintain specimens of plants, principally trees and shrubs, that are native to Maryland; 2) to provide an educational experience for the university community and community at large that is both scientifically accurate yet accessible to lay persons; and 3) to serve as an outreach and community engagement tool of the university.
Department of Biological Sciences
Smith Hall, Room 341 (map)
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.