The Environment at ANC
At Arlington National Cemetery, a dedicated team of horticulturalists oversees the maintenance of the cemetery's 639-acre living memorial landscape. ANC horticulturalists incorporate sustainable practices and principles into the design and management of the cemetery landscape. In this module, students of all ages will learn about the environmental principles that guide landscape management at ANC.

Elementary and middle-school materials offer lessons on identifying plants and the impact of plants on the environment. High-school materials teach students about the impacts of human activity on watersheds and biodiversity, through the lens of landscape management and design at Arlington National Cemetery.

Walking Tour: Memorial Arboretum

Arlington National Cemetery's 639 acres of rolling green hills, with nearly 9,000 trees, serve as a living tribute to the veterans and their family members laid to rest here. Our walking tours explore highlights of Memorial Arboretum.
In 2014, to commemorate its 150th anniversary, Arlington National Cemetery established this historic landscape as Memorial Arboretum. In 2018, Memorial Arboretum was accredited as a Level III Arboretum--one of only 24 institutions worldwide to maintain this prestigious accreditation. While strolling through these hallowed grounds, consider how the landscape contributes to Arlington's mission to honor and remember the service and sacrifice of individuals buried here. 
  • Distance: 2.5 miles for regular walking tour; 2 miles for school group walking tour
  • Exertion Level: Moderate
  • Starting point: Section 31 (.2 miles from Welcome Center) 

Lesson Plan: Designing a Cemetery

In this lesson, high school students will discuss the impacts of human activity on watersheds and biodiversity, through the lens of landscape management and design at Arlington National Cemetery.
Students will have the opportunity to plan a new section of the cemetery using a menu of options related to plantings, stormwater management, parking lots and walkways, fertilizer and pesticide. As they make their choices, students will be asked to consider the needs of the environment, the interests of cemetery visitors, and a budget, reflecting real-world challenges faced by Arlington National Cemetery administration.


  • Two class periods, 90-120 minutes total, with some homework

Lesson Plan: The Plant Plan—Putting the Right Plant in the Right Place

Students will use provided facts and data about different native plants and conditions at Arlington National Cemetery to make and defend planting decisions.
These lessons, designed for elementary and middle-school students, can either be used as a unit culminating activity or, with modifications, as an introductory activity to a unit on plants and the environment. Resources include a PowerPoint, plant cards, cemetery maps, a worksheet, and a grading rubric.
  • One class period, 45-60 minutes total

Memorial Arboretum: Seasonal Guides

Whether visiting in the spring, summer, fall or winter, there is always something to see in Arlington National Cemetery's Memorial Arboretum. Download our seasonal guides for recommendations on horticulture highlights for each season.