HISTORY

Welcome to Taltree Arboretum & Gardens!

Taltree Arboretum & Gardens is a remarkable asset to the Northwest Indiana Lake Michigan region. Sitting on top of the Valparaiso moraine, Taltree boasts 330 acres of woody plant collections, formal gardens, wetlands, woodlands and prairies.

In 1997, founders, Damien and Rita Gabis, started to develop a plan to conserve green space and native species to offset the increase in urbanization. Their vision was a place where people would relax, find inspiration and learn about the native landscape, horticulture and ecology.


Taltree Timeline

1998: Taltree becomes not-for-profit foundation. Reforestation efforts began by the planting of 7,000 oak and hickory trees on 16 acres. Warm season prairie was planted on 30 acres and the first trails were created. Acorns received from the International Oak Society were planted.
1999: Savanna Wetlands reclamation project
2000: First adult education classes offered; Interpretive hikes begin; savanna wetland plants installed along shoreline; five acres warm season prairie planted; first plant collections policy drafted; volunteer program begins
2001: Joseph E. Meyer Memorial Pavilion construction begins; Taltree grounds opened to public in October
2002: Joseph E. Meyer Memorial Pavilion completed; First wedding at Taltree; Outstanding Civic Organization Award received from Indiana Urban Forest Council; Membership program begins; First TAG Along newsletter published
2003: Music in Nature concerts begin; Meyer Memorial Pavilion gardens planted; first master plan created; received Newcomer of the Year award from Porter County Convention & Visitor Commission; first Taltree Ten race; summer youth programs with Boys & Girls Clubs and Hilltop House begin
2004: Welcome and Entry Gardens planted; Native Plant Garden begins; Opportunity Enterprises and Arc Bridges begin volunteering at Taltree; received Environmental Quality of Life award from the Quality of Life Council
2005: Taltree receives Quality of Life Award from Arc Bridges of Gary IN
2006: Taltree plants trees at Ivanhoe Elementary, Gary and along bicycle path in Hammond; Taltree recognized by Arc Bridges for “outstanding contributions and inclusion of people with disabilities” during Disability Awareness Month
2007: Hitz Family Rose Garden completed; Taltree received the Phillip Antommaria Memorial Award for Environmental Excellence from Rotary of Valparaiso; First Cathy Hodges Memorial Concert for Performing Arts; First Gala Dinner-Midsummer Nights Dream
2008: Taltree receives Community Improvement Award from Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce; Railway Garden Depot groundbreaking; Ten Years of Taltree summer celebration
2009: Thanks to support from Valparaiso Rotary Club, Taltree constructs Window on the Wetland, a spot for visitors to view the wide variety of wildlife that live in or pass through the wetland. The entry gatehouse is built, allowing Taltree to disburse information to visitors. Taltree’s Native Plant Garden adds a Monarch Waystation that includes host and nectar plants for Monarch butterflies. The Railway Garden Depot is completed.
2010: Taltree’s premier Oak Collection is awarded provisional status by the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC).  NAPCC, a program of the American Public Gardens Association, is a network of botanical gardens which take official responsibility for collecting and preserving specific plant groups and the genetic resources they represent.
2011: The Taltree Railway Garden opens and receives several awards for design, including the GreenSite Award for its pervious concrete path. The Cardinal Trail is completed, adding .6-mile to Taltree’s three miles of trals. Taltree’s Native Plant Garden receives the Bringing Nature Home Award from the Shirley Heinze Land Trust.
2012: ArcelorMittal Adventure Garden construction begins; First National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC) team arrives; Railway Garden receives Concrete Achievement Award from the Indiana Ready Mixed Concrete Association
2013: Launched Conservation-To-Go and Summer Camp programs; Awarded Lake Michigan Coastal Program & NOAA funding; Received Best of the Region Award for Public Spaces & Outdoor Exhibits; First GLOW: Art after Dark a success
2014: Aviary habitat for Red-Necked Pheasant and American Woodcock is developed; Received Arbnet Level III accreditation; Full NAPCC status awarded; Established the National Council of Trustees; Education project funding provided by Lake Michigan Coastal Program & NOAA funding; GuideStar GoldStar rating achieved; First Picnic en Blanc