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K-State Today Student Edition

January 24, 2014

Kansas State University earns 2013 Tree Campus USA® recognition

Submitted by Matthew McKernan

Congratulations to Kansas State University for earning 2013 Tree Campus USA® recognition. Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

To obtain this distinction, K-State had to meet the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance event, and the sponsorship of student service learning projects.

During the spring 2013 semester, 28 students in Cathie Lavis’s HORT 585, Arboriculture class, contributed significantly to this achievement. Four of these students, who serve on the Tree Campus USA committee, enthusiastically created, led, and organized the Arbor Day celebration (Standard 4) and student learning project (Standard 5) required for this recognition.

The students' primary objective was to draw attention to the significance of our campus trees and the role they play in our daily activities. These students created a walking path through the campus highlighting 18 particular trees. Students designed educational signs for each of these trees using information learned in the course. The vinyl signs were made by Kris Fulkerson, procurement officer III in the Division of Facilities.

A collection of tree specimens was displayed on four tables positioned in highly visible locations throughout the main campus to expose the university community to the fascinating life of trees. A fun part of these activities was watching arboriculture students climbing area trees, demonstrating the techniques used to perform tree care. Hummel Tree Service, Rothwell Landscape, and Growing Concerns donated funds for the tree signs and various other materials used for the Student Learning Project.

On Arbor Day, April 26, a Northern Red Oak, Quercus rubra, donated by Blueville Nursery, was planted by arboriculture students and members of the Kappa Pi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Also involved were various members of the Manhattan community. This tree is planted south of Coffman Commons near Holtz Hall and hosts a commemorative plaque. The Arbor Day celebration and student learning project will continue each year orchestrated by students in HORT 585, Arboriculture. Arbor Day in Kansas is celebrated the last Friday in April.

The Tree Campus USA committee is comprised of four students: Adam Bangerter and Wes Haid, master's students in landscape architecture, and Lexi Wingerson and Matt McKernan, students in horticulture. Other committee members include, Kim Bomberger, Kansas Forest Service; Dea Brokesh, landscape architecture and regional and community planning; Cathie Lavis, committee chair, horticulture, forestry and recreation resources; Scott McElwain director of the K-State Gardens; Judy, O’Mara, plant pathology; Chip Winslow, landscape architecture and regional and community planning; Shuang Hao, campus landscape designer; Joe Myer, facilities grounds manager; Mark Taussig, associate director, campus planning and management; Jackie Toburen, assistant director, campus facilities services; and community members Travis Hummel, owner of Hummel Tree Service; Randy James, owner of Growing Concerns; and J. David Mattox, forestry supervisor for the city of Manhattan. Committee members played a critical role contributing to our Tree Campus USA application that was submitted in late December.