The community is invited to join the Gavilan College Board of Trustees for a ribbon-cutting, tour and introduction to the college’s arboretum, and celebrate the inclusion of one of the arboretum’s trees in the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute California Big Trees Listing, the official registry of California big trees.

The event will take place Tuesday, June 10 at  5 p.m. at the college’s Gilroy campus at 5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. Guests should park in Lot “H,” wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water.

The mission of the Gavilan College Arboretum is to promote public awareness of the unique and sustainable landscape at the college through fostering of educational, research and conservation activities.
The National Champion tree is a specimen of eucalyptus, Omeo Gum (Eucaluptus neglecta) growing near the administration building on the Gilroy campus. It is 56 feet tall with a 69.25-foot canopy, and is 64 inches around. It was planted in or around 1967, and is the biggest of its species in both the state and the nation. This species is not native to California, and often only grows to shrub-size in its home soil in Australia. The Gavilan College tree has attained its size due to the lack of natural predators and ideal growing conditions.

The tree was officially measured by Prunedale arborist Michael L. Bench in 2013, and the results submitted to the Urban Forest Ecosystems Institute, housed at CalPoly, at the recommendation of Matt Ritter, a botany professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. The arboretum at Gavilan College was begun in 2013, although many plants date to 1966, when the Gilroy campus first opened The landscaping at the Gilroy campus has long been recognized as unique and the legacy of the campus’ landscape designer, Watsonville nurseryman Ray Williams. Williams was ahead of his time in designing a landscape that is consistent with its surroundings. He incorporated sustainable, drought tolerant native and non-native plants. He was especially interested in Australian plants, many of which were grown in the nursery of Ray and his wife Rose.

For more information about the Gavilan College Arboretum, go to For more information on the big trees list, click here