Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum

arboretumSince its founding in 1856, Saint John’s Abbey has been guided by the Benedictine principles of stability, hospitality and stewardship. In 1933, the abbey lands were designated as a state wildlife refuge. In 1997, the longstanding principle of stewardship led the monks to designate the abbey lands as a natural arboretum with a focus on conservation, education, research and spiritual renewal.  

John Geissler, Abbey Land Manager
320-363-3126  |  108 New Science Center

Maps & Publications


pine trail

  The Landscape

The Abbey Arboretum is a mix of prairie, oak savanna, oak and hardwood forest, conifer forest, and lakes and wetlands. Explore maps and descriptions of some of the landscape.

loon and baby
Plants & Wildlife

While the lists we have are not comprehensive, they represent some of the variety of plants and animals that might be seen in or around the Abbey Arboretum.

arboretum overlooking Abbey church

Abbey Conservation Corps

“Volunteers contributing time, talent, and treasure for the next generation.” The Saint John’s Abbey relies heavily on the contributions made by our surrounding community to help maintain our natural lands. We have set several initiatives this year to help achieve our long-term goals.

stone gate in fall

Stewardship Activities

Saint John’s Abbey is dedicated to preserving the native landscape surrounding Saint John’s Abbey & University. Prescribed fire, oak regeneration, invasive species removal, a controlled deer hunt, and an active logging operation are among the tools used to care for the land.

saint john's maple syrup
Saint John’s Maple Syrup

Saint John’s Abbey began making maple syrup in 1942. Today, hundreds of volunteers help tap trees, collect sap and cook the syrup each spring. With the help of Saint John’s Outdoor University, the syrup operation also provides opportunities for education with tours and the annual Maple Syrup Festivals.

Land Plans & Policies

In keeping with the Benedictine Values, Saint John’s Abbey is pleased to share our home with you where you may observe nature and be physically and spiritually refreshed. As a guest on this private property, please be respectful of our policies and this land which we consider sacred.

solar panels
Abbey Energy Solar Farm

Measuring 27 acres and 3400 kW, Saint John’s Abbey solar farm provides almost 20% of Saint John’s annual energy needs (enough to power 600 homes annually). Three  installations since 2009 provide opportunities for education and research. Read more in the summer 2017 issue of Sagatagan Seasons.

avon hills initiative
FSC certification

Saint John’s Abbey Arboretum is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council® FSC® – C008922, ensuring that our land stewardship operations are held to the highest standards

avon hills initiative
Avon Hills Initiative

A community-based organization committed to preserving the rural and natural character of the avon hills region, roughly 50 square miles of land in Avon, St. Joseph, Collegeville and St. Wendel Townships.