The “Own Time, Any Time” cell phone tour of the Earl G. Maxwell Arboretum is the result of the master’s project of horticulture student Elizabeth Killinger. A native of Cotesfield, Nebraska, Killinger received her undergraduate degree in horticulture from UNL. Working under associate professor Kim Todd, Killinger used voice mail technology to create the tour, which guides visitors to points of interest in the arboretum. Users dial a general access number and, from there, are guided through a series of options. Currently, there are five stops and two information numbers on the tour, but there are plans for expansion, as the possibilities with this technology are virtually limitless. Tour brochures with maps are available at the East Campus Visitor’s Center, located in the Dairy Store.
Killinger writes, “Visitors coming to East Campus for an ice cream cone or to enjoy the fall colors may not be aware of the international links between a particular plant and history or the diversity of learning opportunities available. These little-known bits of information provide a layer of interest and intrigue, personalizing and connecting what is often perceived as a vast institution to real people and real events.”
The tour emphasizes history by including information on giants in the field of plant sciences at the university, such as Charles Bessey, John E. Weaver, George Beadle and Earl Maxwell, himself. There are tour stops about specific plants, gardens and collections, including Fleming Slope and the three plant breeding brothers for which it is named, the design principals used in creating Yeutter Garden and the history and lore of lilacs. The tour’s information numbers lead you to the ReTree Nebraska Program and the Big Red Green Team.
There are also numbers at which you can leave feedback and find out what is new and different. The number to access the tour is (402)472–5555.
—Nebraska Green Scene, An Annual Publican of UN-L's Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, 2008