Arbor Day Farm is a living laboratory of environmental stewardship and conservation, preserving the best practices of the past while keeping an eye to the future. Across these 260 acres, the original estate of J. Sterling Morton, you will experience firsthand a variety of practices and programs that leave a positive impact on the world we all share.
Hazelnut Research Field
The second-largest Hazelnut Research Field in the U.S. is located on nine acres of land just north of Lied Lodge & Conference Center. This unique woody perennial field provides beauty to Arbor Day Farm and shows the way to better food production, environmental health, and innovative agroforestry practices. The partners in the hybrid hazelnut program—University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Rutgers University, Oregon State University, and the Arbor Day Foundation—formed a consortium redirect to combine their years of study and experience with hybrid hazelnuts and to advance the progress of this sustainable crop. Learn more about the Hazelnut Project at Arbor Day Farm redirect.
Sustainability and Green Lodging
Designed with conservation at its core, Lied Lodge & Conference Center at Arbor Day Farm reflects the Arbor Day Foundation’s commitment to tree planting and environmental stewardship. As a guest of Lied Lodge, you will find a variety of sustainable choices—from locally sourced menu selections at Timbers to recycling bins in each guest room to Green Seal-certified detergents and cleansers used throughout the facility. Visit our sustainability page redirect for a current list of environmentally friendly practices at Lied Lodge.
Lied Lodge Parking Lot Arboretum
For a living example of the benefits trees provide in parking areas, look no further than the Lied Lodge Parking Lot Arboretum. With more than 400 trees representing nearly 50 species, the arboretum features both common indigenous species like bur oak and special nursery-grown cultivars such as red sunset maple and snowdrift crabapple. These trees provide shade, shelter, and beauty year-round. If you’re visiting in autumn, you’ll be impressed by the show of vibrant colors.
Nut Tree Arboretum
You will find many advantages—both seen and unseen—within the Nut Tree Arboretum at Arbor Day Farm. Soil and water conservation, oxygen production, wildlife habitat, and landscape beautification all combine with the practical, economic value of nut crop production. Nut trees offer countless benefits while providing a crop alternative for land that is often unsuitable for other crops or for more traditional cultivation. The Nut Tree Arboretum at Arbor Day Farm is a rich research site for several varieties of black walnuts as well as other nut species including hickory, hazelnut, and pecan. Some of this research complements that being done at Arbor Day Farm’s Hazelnut Research Field. The Nut Tree Arboretum is made possible through a partnership with the Nebraska Nut Growers.
Originally built in the early 1900s, the Historic Morton Barns once housed the draft animals and livestock used on J. Sterling Morton’s farm and orchards. With the help of the National Park Service and the Nebraska Historical Society, the barns have been restored to their initial appearance and serve a variety of roles, including education center for youth activities, company barbecues, wedding ceremonies and receptions, and hosting special events at Arbor Day Farm year round.
Parking Lot Runoff Filtration System
In the parking lot between the Apple House Market and the Tree Adventure, a stormwater runoff filtration system is hard at work just below the surface. During rain showers, oil and other pollutants flow across this hard-surfaced parking lot into the shallow, landscaped depression at the center of the lot. The water is then filtered as it flows down through a series of sand filters to a perforated under-drain collection system. The interaction with tree roots also helps to clean the water. When runoff from a large storm exceeds the capacity of the system, the water flows directly into a storm drain that outlets in a “bioswale,” or infiltration basin, for further treatment. Cleaning water in this way prevents polluted runoff from flowing directly into nearby South Table Creek.
Nature Explore Classrooms
These outdoor learning spaces are specifically designed to include nature in the daily lives and learning of children. You will find two certified classrooms at Arbor Day Farm—one large and one small—each with designated activity areas for climbing, building, nature art, “messy materials,” and music and movement. The Nature Explore program provides research-based workshops, design consultations and hands-on resources for public and private spaces, with a network of certified classrooms developing across the United States. Grounded in more than a decade of research and field testing, the Nature Explore initiative is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and Dimensions Foundation in collaboration with environmental, educational, design, and health organizations.
Arbor Day Farm Greenhouses
You will see the Arbor Day Foundation’s tree planting mission come to life inside the growing facilities at Arbor Day Farm. The 2,800-square-foot Lied Greenhouse uses boom irrigation, computer-monitored climate control systems and expertise to grow many thousands of hybrid hazelnuts per growing season for the hazelnut research program. In the John C. Negus Growing House, conifer seedlings flourish in precise growing conditions, reaching six inches in height within just six months. These conifers are distributed to Arbor Day Foundation members across the country, and as an Arbor Day Farm Tree Adventure visitor, you will receive one to plant at home.
Few things illustrate the many benefits of trees better than windbreaks. While providing all of the other gifts of trees—from the production of oxygen to landscape beautification—windbreaks slow the wind, help retain moisture, protect valuable topsoil, and serve as corridors for wildlife. Farmstead and field windbreaks are both visible demonstrations found at Arbor Day Farm.
The Preservation Orchard at Arbor Day Farm represents more than 150 different heirloom apple varieties. Here you will discover a living record of some of the finest known apples and a genetic repository that may one day help create varieties well suited to a changing climate. Your visit to Arbor Day Farm during the autumn apple harvest offers a rare opportunity to taste the wonderful flavor of some of these old varieties, many of which are no longer commercially available.
Living trees and shrubs stabilize the banks of South Table Creek through a variety of stream bioengineering techniques designed to filter runoff, improve habitat and infiltration, and enhance aesthetics. Facines, brushmattresses, and timber cribs are currently being tested and evaluated for effectiveness. Many partners were included in this stream bioengineering project at Arbor Day Farm, including county officials, Americorps volunteers, the U.S. Forest Service, the EPA, and the USDA National Resources Conservation Service.