A field at Gabis is pictured.

The Gabis Arboretum was founded by Damien and Rita Gabis. In the early 1990s, Dr. and Mrs. Gabis purchased 72 acres of land and through a series of purchases over several years, brought together 300 acres that became known as Taltree Arboretum & Gardens.

As the Gabises learned more about the northwest Indiana region, they saw and understood the need for green space and set out to create a natural place where people could be inspired and experience the serenity of nature.

The Idea

Through 1994 and 1995, Damien took a variety of ecology courses at the Morton Arboretum ultimately becoming a certified naturalist. The vision for the arboretum grew out of these classes and discussions with other professionals. Rita’s love and interest in gardening was brought into the vision and the arboretum began to come together. The Gabises envisioned a place where people would come to be refreshed, find inspiration in nature and learn about horticulture and ecology.

Initial groundwork for the arboretum began in 1996 and the Gabis family began the first formal tree collection by acquiring 48 species of oak acorns in 1997. A foundation was established in 1998 to fund and care for the arboretum. Since then, the Gabises and others have invested significant funds to support conservation, ecological and educational activities.

During the spring of 1998, staff and volunteers planted 35 acres of warm season prairie and more than 7,000 oaks and hickories. Oaks and hickories were chosen because original surveys from the U.S. Government Land Office from 1835-1837 indicated that the property’s original forest was made up of these species. This began a large effort to return the arboretum not only to nature, but to its historical state, reclaiming it back from farmland.

Soon after the initial forest plantings, staff and volunteers restored a large wetland that had been drained for agriculture. Trails connecting each area were constructed and since that time, numerous species of mammals, birds, insects and amphibians have come to call the arboretum home. Franklin pest control is located in Hobart Indiana, a neighboring town, call them for assistance with pest control at (219) 600-4910. Griffith Historical society is another location of interest near by keep reading to find out more about it.

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