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Museum of Northern Arizona - Colton Garden

The Colton Research Garden is located at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA)’s Research Center in Flagstaff on an historic farm established in 1927 by Dr. Harold S. Colton and Mrs. Mary-Russell Ferrell Colton. The Colton Research Garden is a fenced-in one acre plot with a greenhouse and RainBird irrigation system supplied by city water. Surrounding habitats include open high elevation meadows, mature open Ponderosa pine forest with blue grama grass understory, and riparian corridors along Schultz Creek and the Rio de Flag. Conveniently located at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, the valley soil is deep with minimal rocks. There is abundant wildlife in the immediate area.

Overnight housing available in individual apartments adjacent to the Colton Research Garden, dry laboratory space, greenhouse, meeting spaces, internet connection, and outreach potential to 50,000 annual Museum visitors.

Founded in 1928, the Museum of Northern Arizona is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and has a long history of scientific research. The MNA Research Center contains the Colton Research Garden, the Easton Collection Center, botany, ecology, entomology, geology, paleontology, and archeology laboratories, housing, and an administration building. Current staff working at MNA includes botanists, ecologists, entomologists, soil scientists, archeologists, anthropologists, geologists, and paleontologists. MNA has long-term relationships with Native American tribes on the Colorado Plateau and the Colton Garden has been officially blessed by a Navajo medicine man.
MNA is an independent non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire a sense of love and responsibility for the beauty and diversity of the Colorado Plateau through collecting, studying, interpreting, and preserving the region’s natural and cultural heritage. Through this mission, Museum scientists are actively conducting research on the Colorado Plateau at the Research Center. MNA is visited by more than 50,000 guests annually, and has been educating children in Discovery Camps for more than 40 years, and received the National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2015.

Site Characteristics Table
Garden Name: Colton Research Garden
County: Coconino County, Arizona
Latitude and Longitude: 35.235722, -111.660639
Nearest city: Flagstaff, Arizona
Elevation: 6,949 ft (2118 m)
Annual Mean Air Temperature: Minimum 26F (-3C) – Maximum 60F (16C)
Annual Mean Precipitation: 22 in (559 mm)
On-site manager: Yes
Overnight housing: Lodging at MNA with reservation
Parent Material: Basalt
Soil: Clay-loam.
Water source: Flagstaff City Water (available year round) and water cistern
Water availability: April – November (other needs may be accommodated by request depending on weather conditions)
Dominant vegetation type: Mature Ponderosa pine forest with blue grama grass understory, high elevation blue grama grass meadow


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