Widener University has acquired the Taylor Memorial Arboretum, a move that will keep the 30-acre reserve free and open to the public and provide educational opportunities for students and community members.

The arboretum, located in Nether Providence Township about a mile north of the university's Chester campus, has been renamed the Taylor Arboretum at Widener University.

The university acquired the site from BNY Mellon. Widener said it plans to use the reserve for research and to expand hands-on learning opportunities, including citizen science projects.

"The Taylor Arboretum is a local treasure of natural beauty and Widener University is dedicated to preserving the original intent of the trust to promote the health, enjoyment and education of the public in perpetuity," Widener President Julie Wollman said in a statement. "In addition, the arboretum will provide an exceptional setting to engage Widener students beyond what they can achieve in a typical classroom or laboratory setting."

Most of the specimens at arboretum were planted in the 1950s, when the grounds opened for public visitation.

The arboretum was established in 1931 by Joshua C. Taylor, a Chester lawyer and early conservation proponent, in memory of his wife, Anne Rulon Gray. The lands were previously part of an industrial mill complex.

The arboretum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.