Additional trees will be planted on campus this spring and will contribute to Malone being certified as a Tree Campus USA. Dr. King, University President, initiated the campus beautification project and the committee. The certification would bring national recognition and provide present and future maintenance for the trees.
The tree committee met with Dr. King in January and is investigating the details of budget, placement and types of trees to add around campus.
Members of this four person committee include Brendan Cress, a senior biology major, Cynthia Johnson, natural sciences lecturer, Russel Thorn, grounds manager, and Mike Goff, retired professor from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Malone completed a similar project in the 1960s. The earlier efforts planted the mature trees now seen on campus. Because Malone used to be a farm, no trees are original.
“[Dr. King] said the people who planted those trees fifty years ago had foresight, so now we are looking from this vantage point and saying if we plant some trees now the campus will continue to have structure as time goes on,” said Goff.
“When I was a student here, the year I graduated some of the big trees that are on campus had just been planted. You come back fifty years later and they are full grown trees. Dr. King has been impressed with those trees,” said Goff. “If we plant now we are looking at fifty years and the trees will be mature.”
The mature trees are now used in botany classes for tree identification.
“I have a strong background in botany, and I have gone over the campus and used [the on-campus trees] for teaching for years,” said Cynthia Johnson, lecturer in natural sciences.
The trees on campus are diverse in type already, but more diversity would offer more learning opportunities for both students and the community.
“I would eventually like to provide a path on campus that would be called a tree walk, and we could have students come in from grade schools and identify trees,” said Johnson.
“[Students] use the campus as their classroom for tree identification. The tree walk would help designate the locations of those specific trees around campus,” said Russell Thorn, grounds member.
Thorn also said that they are investigating unused areas of campus that are not destined for future projects and have room for rows of trees.
Cathy Weyand is a staff writer for The Aviso