The Bickelhaupt Arboretum is a 14-acre gem located in the heart of Clinton, Iowa. The outdoor museum is the home of select labeled trees, shrubs, groundcovers, perennials and annual flowers. The arboretum, created in 1970 by Robert (Bob) and Frances Bickelhaupt, was donated to Eastern Iowa Community Colleges in 2014 and is now a part of EICC’s Clinton Community College.
The Bickelhaupts began the arboretum in response to the Dutch Elm Disease that destroyed the majority of large street trees in Clinton. Supervision of the arboretum was later passed to their daughter, Francie B. Hill. “There are no words that can fully express our appreciation for this gift,” said CCC President Karen Vickers. “The Bickelhaupt Arboretum has long been a true jewel for the entire Clinton community. We thank the Bickelhaupt board for entrusting that to us and pledge to continue the fine work they have accomplished over these many years.”
The mission of the Bickelhaupt Arboretum is to serve as a connection between people and plants through a better understanding of horticulture by developing and maintaining a well-documented collection of landscape plants adapted to this region for education and enjoyment.Each year the arboretum welcomes more than 25,000 visitors from around the world. It provides award-winning collections, classes, tours, a lending library and museum display of native animals to its visitors.
The arboretum’s two long-time employees, David Horst and Margo Hansen, continue to work there.
David Horst serves as Director of Horticulture and has worked at the arboretum since 1986. He is recognized throughout the state and central region for his leadership and expertise in horticulture. He received the 2009 Outstanding Professional in Iowa Award from the Iowa Urban and Community Forestry Council.
Margo Hansen, Director of Programs, will be recognized by many Clinton area residents as the host of “The Great Green Garden” radio show on KROS. She received the 1996 Urban Forestry Volunteer of the Year in Iowa Award, is a Master Gardener instructor and has presented countless seminars on gardening and horticulture.
The arboretum is open to everyone, free of charge, 365 days a year, from dawn to dusk.