Field Notes: Sustainable Staff Housing



To: Bluedot Living

From: Polly Hill Arboretum

Subject: Sustainable staff housing 

The Arboretum has embarked on a staff housing initiative using sustainable building design, including solar, and a denitrification system. Here is a link to the project ( and some current photos. 

As Polly Hill Arboretum heads into its 25th year as a public garden, we celebrate our community connections and our international reputation as a plant science organization. But to carry out our mission in the future, we are clearly dependent upon our ability to hire and retain high-quality staff.

They conduct our education programs, maintain our grounds, propagate seeds, and protect our collection.

Will the buildings be environmentally friendly?

Yes, the Arboretum is in the Mill Brook watershed and we have taken that into consideration by planning an enhanced denitrification septic system. The houses will have solar panels and are placed to minimize both tree cutting and clearing and their impact on the woodland and wildlife. The homes will be heated/cooled using electric heat pumps and there will be an electric car charging station.

Landscape plants are being grown by Polly Hill, utilizing wild-collected seeds native to Martha’s Vineyard.

The final cost will be about $1.4 million; Polly Hill aims to raise $700,000 of that, and $400,000 has already been raised. The project should be complete by the end of summer, 2023. 

To donate: 

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