Chesterton Tribune



300-acre Taltree Arboretum is donated to Purdue Northwest

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Taltree Arboretum & Gardens has been donated to Purdue University Northwest (PNW), and PNW will continue to operate the 300-acre property for public, educational, and recreational use.

That donation was announced today by Taltree’s Board of Directors, PNW, and the founders of Taltree, Damien and Rita Gabis.

The transfer of ownership is expected to be completed early in the New Year, while the renaming of the property is pending final approval by the Purdue University Board of Trustees in February.

The gift to PNW is valued at approximately $12 million and is the largest donation in the history of the PNW campuses to date.

“We are truly grateful to the Gabis family, as well as the Board of Directors of the Taltree Foundation, for their visionary and generous gift to advance learning, research and engagement in Northwest Indiana,” PNW Chancellor Thomas Keon said. “We are tremendously excited about this exceptional opportunity to expand the mission and impact of both the arboretum and PNW.”

Keon noted that PNW and Taltree have much in common. “Both institutions focus on enhancing the quality of life in the region; both support and advance economic development and sustainability; and both provide educational and research opportunities for people throughout Northwest Indiana and beyond,” a jointly released statement said.

“This partnership with Purdue Northwest is a tremendous opportunity for the sustainability of Taltree as a public arboretum,” Damien Gabis said. “Rita and I would like to thank those who have played a part in Taltree's growth and success, which would not have been possible without the support of our Board of Directors, our dedicated staff, numerous devoted volunteers and our faithful members. We are excited about the prospect of becoming a small part of Purdue Northwest and what the future holds.”

Taltree, home to one of the most diverse oak collections in the nation, welcomes nearly 50,000 guests annually to its beautiful vistas, diverse landscape, and six miles of hiking trails. Damien and Rita Gabis made an initial purchase of land on the site in 1990. With additional land purchases through the Taltree Arboretum & Gardens Foundation, which the Gabises began in 2002, the property grew to its present size. The arboretum today features multiple gardens, pavilions, a Monarch waystation, an outdoor classroom, and the popular Railway Garden.

“The partnership with Taltree will enable PNW to offer new and expanded academic courses, enhance recruitment efforts, support community educational and outreach programs, conduct new research projects, and engage further with area K-12 teachers and students,” the statement said.

Taltree is located in Union Township.



Posted 12/21/2017





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