Opened in September 2013, the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum exemplifies Rotary Club of Milwaukee’s commitment to education, the environment and the future.

Ignited by RCM’s catalytic contribution in 2008, the Arboretum proudly spans 40 acres and includes 3.7 miles of trails, a newly planted oak savannah, numerous native tree and plant species and more. The restoration of the land and re-creation of a rare, native habitat holds many benefits for wildlife, water quality and our community. The Arboretum offers recreational opportunities to fish, hike, bike, cross-country ski, canoe and bird-watch. This centennial gift is a place where all people, especially Milwaukee’s children, can learn, explore and have a first-hand experience with nature.

In 2016, with a donation from the Harry and Mary Franke Idea Fund, the “Three Billion Year Old Walk” was added to the Arboretum.  Click here to learn more.

The Arboretum won a 2014 Milwaukee Business Journal Real Estate Award for public/private partnership. It was also a finalist for the Brewers Community Foundation Public Space Award at the Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation (MANDI).

See the Arboretum come together in our video celebrating the September 2013 opening

Preserving the Future of the Arboretum

Rotarians were also instrumental in creating the Arboretum Preservation Fund to ensure the protection and upkeep of this urban refuge. As of spring 2014, the Arboretum Preservation Fund had nearly $1 million in cash and pledges. The Arboretum is truly a living legacy – and a lasting contribution marking a strong history of civic commitment and collaboration that will continue to give for generations to come.

“When people first heard the scope and scale of this project, folks thought, ‘That’s too big to pull off.’ Happily, here we are today, pulling it off.”

—Chris Abele, Milwaukee County Executive