The state of Alabama has incredible significance when it comes to biodiversity, and leads the nation in a variety of species including Oaks, magnolias, hardwoods and small trees. Auburn University’s own arboretum is helping to preserve nature and is making an impact nationally.

“The Donald E. Davis Arboretum is nature’s very own treasure chest with beautiful plants, relaxing trails and spaces for families to connect in the heart of Auburn,” explained Director Morgan Beadles. “Now this community has received National Accreditation by the Plant Collections Network for its Deciduous Rhododendron Collection.”

An extensive site visit to the 13-acre facility with 7,961 individual plants and evaluation was conducted at the Davis Arboretum. The report noted the collection’s genetic diversity. It specifically addressed the twelve species of azaleas grown throughout the garden. It also highlighted the staff’s commitment and enthusiasm to the garden’s success.

Our team’s passion is to add value to the quality of life of the Auburn community through preserving this Arboretum for future generations,” Beadles added.

The team celebrated receiving the Eagle Award at the 70th Auburn Chamber Annual Meeting earlier this year for its impact on the Auburn community.

Morgan Beadles has both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Auburn University paired with a decade of experience as a junior architect and landscape designer. She has been with the Davis Arboretum for three years as curator, and was promoted to director of the facility in 2019. Teri Briggs has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn, and is a member of the Sentinel Plant Network IPM Scouting Program.

Patrick Thompson earned his master’s degree in 2018. He is certified through the International Society of Arboriculture.

The Davis Arboretum holds family friendly events throughout the entire year. The annual Auburn Azalea Festival brings hundreds of visitors to this amazing facility each spring. People can purchase their own
Auburn Azaleas as well as enjoy music, artwork, fiction writing discussions, and food trucks.

The Red, White and Blueberry Bash, held for the first time this year, brought together a love for everything blueberry-related. A little red wagon parade and blueberry contest headlined the event. During this inaugural blueberry bash, a ribbon-cutting took place for the Arboretum’s new bridge. Through generous support during Tiger Giving Day, this new part of the garden welcomes guests to stroll through and explore the Arboretum’s grounds.

As the weather cools off each fall, the Arboretum offers scary movies at dark on Friday nights in October. These fun movie screenings are free for anyone in the community. Plus, guests can walk through the
garden during a Halloween-themed event, Bones and Boos—if they dare. Guest can view real skeletons from a variety of animals upclose. Activities for younger children even include an archaeological dig. 

Each fall, a pre-order plant sale provides the community an opportunity to purchase plants including the exclusive Auburn Azaleas while helping to support the garden. And, the Arboretum decorates the grounds for the holidays, so that outdoor enthusiasts or people traveling along College Street feel the spirit and
are part of the Auburn Family.

The Davis Arboretum holds 11 percent of all living deciduous azaleas out of 20 comparable
gardens. The team is dedicated to helping record and store data about its collections, and share the

The Arboretum was a contributor to the recent publication, Conservation Gap Analysis of Native
U.S. Oaks. Specific information about the Oak collection was submitted including data on Boynton, Georgia, Oglethorpe and Swamp Post Oaks. This data will help researchers continue to work on conservations efforts.

If you are interested in conducting research at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, contact Morgan Beadles at (334) 844-5770 or email

The Davis Arboretum is located on the Auburn University campus on the corner of College Street and Garden Drive. It is free and open to the public.