Sustainability - Green Notes
Everything You Need to Know About Our Campus Trees
Walking around campus you may have noticed the abundance of trees that are planted all around. In fact, we have roughly seventy different species of trees on campus! Most of these trees are native to Tennessee; however, if you look closely, you can spot some rare finds, such as the Arizona Cypress or the Chinese Pistache! I, myself, am not the most educated on tree knowledge which is why I have called in the help from one of my co-workers—and tree connoisseur—Gracie Huff to help me spread the word about all our wonderful trees on campus and how we take care of them!
To begin, Tennessee Tech is one of ten universities in Tennessee to receive the recognition of being a Tree Campus. Being considered a Tree Campus is an incredible accomplishment. Tree Campus USA is a program that “honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals” (Tree Campus USA). Overall, this program helps to show the importance of having and maintaining healthy trees on campus. To receive this recognition, a college or university must complete the five following standards: establishment of a campus tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures in regard to tree maintenance, involvement in Arbor Day observance, and institution of engaging service learning projects. In addition to the five standards, the school must reapply annually for this recognition. Completing these requirements is not difficult, but it does take a lot of dedication! In fact, Gracie says, “I have found that the standards required are very possible to accomplish and add great contributions to bettering our campus.” We are proud to say that Tennessee Tech has been a Tree Campus since 2018!
Here at Tennessee Tech, we take a lot of pride in the health and well-being of our trees. We ensure that trees are planted in areas that they can thrive the most. Going along with the Tree Campus Standard Two, we have a very detailed Tree Care plan. Everything from planting to fertilizing to dealing with fallen limbs to emergency removals has been well thought over and detailed in our Tree Care Plan. The trees here are just as important as the students at Tennessee Tech! Afterall, trees do produce oxygen, clean the soil, fight soil erosion, control noise pollution, and slow water runoff! How could we possibly ignore them after all the incredible things they do for us?
If you are interested in learning more about trees, Tennessee Tech is the place to be! We offer quite a few different plant science classes as well as some courses on dendrology—the scientific study of trees! Now, if you are looking for a more whimsical way to learn about the importance of trees, I recommend reading Dr. Suess’ The Lorax (which you can check out from the Volpe Library). Many people do not realize how much of a beacon of sustainability The Lorax can be. This book shows us how desolate our environment will become if we overharvest our trees. In fact, to satisfy Tree Campus USA’s fifth standard (service learning project), Gracie along with a few of the other student workers here took some time to read The Lorax to a group of children from Tennessee Tech’s Child Development Lab. She even explained the life cycle of a tree to them! This was such a fun way to introduce children to the world of sustainability!
To end this article, I asked Gracie if she could share a few fun facts about trees for us all—she did not disappoint! One of my favorite trees is a Ginkgo, so I found this fact to be very interesting! Gracie says that scientists believe that the awful smell that female Ginkgo trees release was what attracted dinosaurs and other species to spread their seeds. Perhaps if female Ginkgo trees were not quite so pungent, then they may not be in existence today. One more fun fact to leave you with: did you know that Tennessee Tech is home to both the United States national tree, Oak, and the Tennessee State tree, Tulip Poplar? We have several of each species around campus!
I hope that by now you have a better understanding of our campus trees and the importance of keeping them safe and healthy! I want to extend a big thank you to Gracie Huff for helping me with this article! Like I said earlier, I am not the most tree savvy—this article could not have been made without her help! Since I told you one of my favorite trees (my other is a Weeping Willow), I think it is only fair that you tell me yours! Be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and let us know!