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Conservation of 1,500 trees earns BW "Tree Campus USA" recognition

The magnificent collection of trees that has quietly watched over generations of Baldwin Wallace University students through brilliant autumns, white frosted winters, flowering springs and shady summers, is ready to take a bow. BW is being honored with Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for a "commitment to promoting healthy trees and engaging students in conservation."

BW's lush campus landscape includes the Fullmer Arboretum, which was founded in 1919 and takes in all of north campus from Front Street to Beech, and Bagley Road to 5th Street. As part of the Tree Campus USA designation process, BW completed an inventory of every campus tree, counting an incredible 1,500-plus trees in all, belonging to 107 species.

As a companion project, BW biology major Ryan McCargar '18 created a geographic information system (GIS) map of the trees, accessible to students and faculty.

Trees as Educational Tools

Students at Baldwin Wallace University wind their way past towering trees on the newly designated Tree Campus USA

BW's Campus Landscape Advisory Committee, led by biology professor Kathryn Flinn, Ph.D., spearheaded the effort to gain the Tree Campus USA distinction.

"Our campus, and the plants on it, are really valuable educational tools," said Flinn. "We're finding more ways to engage students in hands-on plant ecology right on campus, and we encourage students, alumni and community members to get involved."

To gain certification, BW was required to fulfill five standards, including a tree advisory committee, campus tree-care plan with a dedicated annual budget, a student service-learning project and an Arbor Day observance.

Tree Ring History and Arboretum Day Celebration

A slice of a white oak that matches the age of Baldwin Wallace University is now on displayA BW "Arboretum Day" celebration on April 20 included volunteer tree planting and labeling, cleanup of the native plant garden and the unveiling of a tree ring exhibit.

The rings of a slice of a north campus white oak, that had to be taken down after an attack by the two-lined chestnut borer, have been marked with key years in BW history, a visual demonstration of how the tree's life coincided with the University's.

"By counting the rings, we estimated the tree's age as between 170-175 years," said Flinn. "Since BW is 172 years old this year, the tree was likely planted at or soon after the founding of the University. It's also a nice display of wood anatomy."

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the Telfer Hall lobby to dedicate the exhibit, which was funded through a generous gift from Michael Melampy, Ph.D., emeritus professor of biology. They then fanned out for tree planting and other volunteer activities.

Alumni and friends of BW also can support a new Campus Landscape Fund to label campus trees, increase interpretive signage, dedicate trees for memorial plantings, maintain gardens, support student projects and plant more trees.

About Tree Campus USA and the Arbor Day Foundation

Tree Campus USA logoTree Campus USA is a national program, created in 2008. Currently there are 296 campuses across the U.S. with the title.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. The foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year.

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