In March 2023, Aspen Grove Cemetery in Burlington was awarded a Level (1) Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. Aspen Grove Cemetery is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world's arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.
Aspen Grove Cemetery was created on 11 acres of ground and incorporated by the Iowa Territorial Government on January 3, 1844. Since this time, Aspen Grove Cemetery has grown to 133 acres incorporating winding drives, ravines, over 2,000 trees and with over 70 species along with varieties of wildlife and plants. Aspen Grove Cemetery has changed over the years, recently became a stop for the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a program through the National Parks Service, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and now a sponsor location for Wreaths Across America. Aspen Grove Cemetery has four species of trees listed on the Department of Natural Resources “Big Trees of Iowa” list; Bitternut Hickory, Mockernut Hickory, Flowering Dogwood and White Ash. In 1936, Aspen Grove Cemetery designated an area known as the “Veterans Memorial Amphitheater”, a natural bowl for Memorial Day and other services. This area over time became unsightly, however, for the past two years restoration has begun to bring this section back to its full potential and again allow for all types of services and educational programs to be conducted. Aspen Grove Cemetery truly is a local gem for the Burlington community and beyond.
ArbNet is an interactive, collaborative, international community of arboreta. ArbNet facilitates the sharing
of knowledge, experience, and other resources to help arboreta meet their institutional goals and works to
raise professional standards through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. The accreditation
program, sponsored and coordinated by The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois in cooperation with
American Public Gardens Association and Botanic Gardens Conservation International, is the only global
initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards. The program offers four
levels of accreditation, recognizing arboreta of various degrees of development, capacity and
professionalism. Standards include planning, governance, public access, programming and tree science,
planting and conservation. More information is available at http://www.arbnet.org