The Dawes Arboretum has a long history of honoring prominent members of the horticulture community.  The Arboretum has dedicated trees in honor of forestry education pioneer Carl Alwin Schenck, Ph.D., researcher and professor of Horticulture at The Ohio State University Dr. Lewis C. Chadwick and even Johnny Appleseed!  Most recently, The Arboretum honored botanist and long-time professor at Kent State University Dr. Tom Cooperrider.  His ties with The Dawes Arboretum go back some three-quarters of a century, when his elementary school class from nearby Jacksontown made annual field trips to what they called “Dawes Woods.”  Tom’s taking first prize in a tree-identification contest in 8th grade foreshadowed what was to become a most remarkable career.

Dr. Cooperrider has made numerous contributions toward a better understanding of Ohio’s plant life.  Among the books recounting the flora of the state, his 656-page volume The Dicotylenoneae of Ohio, Part 2 raised the bar considerably, setting a new standard for future authors to follow.  His most recent book Botanical Essays from Kent includes an image of an American holly called ‘Beautiful Ohio’ that was photographed at The Dawes Arboretum.

Dr. Cooperrider is the namesake for Tom S. Cooperrider–Kent Bog State Nature Preserve.  Aided by Pamela Groomes, granddaughter of the previous land owner who provided the state with the opportunity to acquire the preserve, Arboretum staff set out to collect trees from this natural gem.  With the gracious permission of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Arboretum staff collected a few small tamarack, Larix laricina, seedlings from the Tom S. Cooperrider–Kent Bog State Nature Preserve.

On April 9, 2016, colleagues, former students and friends from around the state met at The Dawes Arboretum to celebrate Tom’s lifetime achievements.  One of these tamaracks was planted in his honor.  Although Dr. Cooperrider no longer travels, a letter that he composed was read aloud at the ceremony.  Attendees spent time reminiscing about Dr. Cooperrider by sharing personal stories and anecdotes.  The Arboretum thanks Tom S. Cooperrider for his contributions to horticulture and conservation in Ohio and is honored to have been a part of some of his accomplishments, including that 8th grade tree identification contest!

photo of people sharing stories

Colleagues, former students and friends from around the state gathered at The Arboretum to celebrate Dr. Cooperrider.

photo of tamarack tree

tamarack, Larix laricina

Introduce your children to nature education at The Dawes Arboretum—you never know how far they’ll go!  View upcoming classes and events here.