The mission of the Lillian Anderson Arboretum can be summarized as follows:
- Conservation. Kalamazoo College is committed to conserving the natural qualities of the Arboretum. All policy decisions are subordinate to this goal.
- Experiential Learning. The College recognizes the myriad learning opportunities afforded by the Arboretum, and encourages their realization. These opportunities range from studies of the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, to historical and anthropological studies of land use, to creative expression through photography, painting and writing.
- Community Building. Fostering community development is a fundamental College goal. Activities which promote this goal include organized hikes and naturalist programs, service outings for trail maintenance and eventually construction of a retreat center. It is desirable that all activities at the Arboretum complement those at the central campus, rather than draw resources away from them.
- Recreation. The College wishes to develop low-impact recreational opportunities that do not disrupt the natural qualities of the Arboretum. Appropriate activities include hiking, bird watching, cross country running and cross country skiing in the winter.
- Contemplation. The natural settings of the Arboretum provide exceptional opportunities for solitude and contemplation. We value the rejuvenating and enlightening impact that such solitude can have on the human spirit and seek to preserve these opportunities.