Lakes-shorelines, prairies, woodlands, cobble beaches, floodplains, and a limestone habitat called an alvar that's found in only a couple of regions in the world-and showcase the diversity of flora found in them, including native orchids, ferns, prairie plants, and lady slippers.
The missions of the Arb and the Botanical Gardens have shifted over the years. The first botanical garden at U-M was intended for medical students to study medicinal plants. Later, their direction was driven largely by local horticultural groups. "The American Rose Society helped develop a rose garden, the Rock Garden Society helped develop a rock garden, and there was a group called the Herb Study Group that helped develop an herb garden," Grese explains. "One of the things we've done in the last few years is develop some gardens that are more focused on native plants."
They've also spruced up, as it were, the Sam Graham Trees, a trail in the botanical gardens named for the late U-M forestry prof. Graham was "one of the first forestry professionals and instructors to incorporate principles of ecology into the teaching of forestry," Grese says, "trying to move forestry from just being about producing commodities to thinking about an interconnected system of living parts."