Coorts Arboretum takes root at Tennessee Tech, Living memorial seeks funds to grow

A living memorial taking root on the campus of Tennessee Technological University offers area plant lovers an opportunity to learn more about trees and shrubs of beauty that are a good fit for Cookeville area growing conditions.

Dedicated last March, the Gerald D. Coorts Memorial Arboretum is taking shape on the lawn beside South Hall on the southeast corner of campus. The arboretum, a place where trees and shrubs are planted for display and show, honors the life of the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology's former dean, a distinguished horticulturist and educator who served Tennessee Tech from 1985 to 1994.

Once fully established, the arboretum will span the area from South Hall to Derryberry Hall on the Dixie Avenue side, offering campus and community members a place to walk among a collection of plants chosen for their significance, beauty and match with the region. The garden also functions as an important learning environment for students engaged in horticulture and landscape and nursery management studies in the College of Agriculture and Human Ecology -- an excellent tribute to Coorts who throughout his career was deeply committed to teaching about plants and nurturing the growth of students.

Already the arboretum features a stone memorial that reads, "Dr. Coorts' life was a dedication to the beautification of God's earth through sight and sound." In addition to his service as dean, he was active in a number of campus and community organizations, including the Cookeville Tree Board, the Rose Society, TTU Garden Club and the Bryan Symphony Orchestra Board.

The arboretum was funded with an initial donation by the Cookeville Tree Board. Now supporters are seeking additional funds to help maintain the arboretum and establish new plantings. The board and Tennessee Tech's College of Agriculture and Human Ecology welcome donations to a special account established for the arboretum. Anyone who wishes to contribute may send a check made payable to the Gerald D. Coorts Memorial Arboretum Fund to Dean Donald M. Elkins, College of Agriculture and Human Ecology, TTU Box 5165, Cookeville, TN 38505-0001. All contributions will be acknowledged.