The Taltree Arboretum & Gardens Foundation and its co-founders, Damien and Rita Gabis, have announced the donation of more than three hundred acres of gardens and trails to Purdue University Northwest.
Valued at approximately $12 million, the gift is the largest ever to PNW, which will assume operations of the arboretum as soon as title to the land is transferred to the university in early 2018. In recognition of the gift, the arboretum will be renamed the Gabis Arboretum at Purdue Northwest.
Home to one of the most diverse oak forests in the nation, the arboretum welcomes nearly fifty thousand guests annually to experience its scenic 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 established in 2002, the property grew to its present size. Currently, the property features multiple gardens, pavilions, a monarch butterfly waystation, an outdoor classroom, and a model railway garden. Following transfer of ownership, PNW will begin to offer new and expanded academic courses, initiate new research projects, support community educational and outreach programs, and engage in other ways with K-12 teachers and students in the area.
"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," said PNW chancellor Thomas L. Keon. "We are tremendously excited about this exceptional opportunity to expand the mission and impact of both the arboretum and PNW."