Wagner Farm Arboretum seeks to enrich, educate and inspire the community by increasing environmental awareness and recreational opportunities.
There are 92.6 acres remaining of the former Wagner Dairy Farm, located on Mountain Avenue, Warren that was owned and operated by the Wagner family since 1917. When active, it was a complete operation. There was a herd of Holsteins that was nourished by feed raised on the farm, grazed on its pastures, and milked in the milking parlor. The milk was pasteurized and bottled in the creamery adjacent to the barn. Milk and milk products, including the best chocolate milk and eggnog available by some people’s standards, were delivered to local homes and later sold at the farm’s store. The farm operated in this manner until around 1987.
On May 31, 2001, Warren Township purchased the Wagner Farm property for the purpose of preserving it as open space.
On June 14, 2001, the Warren Township Committee created an ad hoc committee, commonly known as the Wagner Farm Advisory Committee to identify and recommend possible uses of the Wagner Farm property for the residents of Warren.
On March 14, 2002 the Wagner Farm Advisory Committee submitted its final report, which identified several potential uses including the design, construction, and operation of an arboretum. The Warren Township Committee then directed the Wagner Farm Advisory Committee to further develop the arboretum proposal and authorized funds for the employment of a professional to provide a conceptual sketch of how the arboretum would fit into the total Wagner Farm property.
In March 2004, the Wagner Farm Advisory Committee presented the more detailed conceptual plan of an arboretum design and a recommendation that a non-profit corporation be established to raise funds to design, construct and operate an arboretum, both of which the Warren Township Committee unanimously found acceptable.
On May 27, 2004 the Warren Township Committee formally declared support for the formation of a non-profit corporation for the aforementioned purposes.
The Wagner Farm Arboretum Foundation, Inc. (WFAF) was organized and incorporated on June 11, 2004.
On August 26, 2004 the Mayor and the Township Committee of the Township of Warren, County of Somerset, State of New Jersey, recognized the Wagner Farm Arboretum Foundation, Inc., and authorized the Foundation pursuant to a revocable at-will license to raise funds to provide resources for the design, foundation, construction, and operation of the Wagner Farm Arboretum at the Township property located on Mountain Avenue, and encourages and endorses volunteerism in support of the same.
In the Spring of 2007, Wagner Farm Arboretum collaborated with The Gardeners of Watchung Hills to open the Community Garden. It was also during this year that the Giving Garden Project started and successfully delivered 2300 pounds of fresh vegetables grown in the Community Garden (Giving Garden Plots).
The Children’s Garden broke ground in the fall of 2008.
In 2014, Wagner Farm Arboretum celebrated it’s 10th year as a non-profit organization. Over the years since its incorporation, through the leadership of the members of the Board of Trustees, and with the tireless efforts of many volunteers and committee members, the Arboretum has made an impact to the community and environment one step at a time, one seedling at a time, and one helping hand at a time.
As 2015 unfolds, the Arboretum is excited to make plans to meet its newly defined Mission: To enrich, educate and inspire the community by increasing environmental awareness and recreational opportunities.