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K-State Today

April 24, 2019

Invest in trees: Grow K-State

Submitted by Cathie Lavis

Kansas State University has been a recognized Tree Campus USA since 2013. Tree Campus USA is a national program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation honoring college campuses for endorsing appropriate tree care practices while promoting the numerous benefits of trees to a sustainable world.

In Kansas, Arbor Day is celebrated the last Friday in April. Several events are planned this week to promote our campus trees. 

Thanks to a 2019 SGA Green Action Fund Grant, "Educating the Campus Community about Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and the Potential Impact on Our Approximately 250 Ash Trees," these funds are being used to help arboriculture students educate and to plant several more trees on our campus.

To help educate the campus community about the emerald ash borer, arboriculture students will have an educational display table from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 26, in Water's Quad near the historic green ash, and again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, April 26, on Bosco Student Plaza.

Arboriculture students will plant four trees on the Manhattan campus:

  • In honor of Joe Myers, who served as manager of grounds/facilities for 25 years, students will plant a Main Street Shantung Maple, or Acer truncatum, at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 24, on the east side of Dole Hall. Myers' passion for campus trees saved many a tree during construction projects. 
  • At 1 p.m. Thursday, April 25, students will plant a Bur oak, or Quercus macrocarpa, on the south side of Anderson Hall lawn.
  • On Friday, April 26, in honor of Vice President Pat Bosco's nearly five decades of service to K-State, students will plant a Sawtooth Oak, or Quercus accutissma, on the eastern edge of Bosco Student Plaza.
  • Also on Friday, April 26, students will plant an oak, Quercus bicolor American Dream, in honor of Mark Taussig, who served as the campus landscape architect for 34 years, at 1 p.m. on the east side of Danforth Chapel.

K-State Tree Campus Advisory Committee has developed a five-year strategic Emerald Ash Borer Readiness and Response Plan to acknowledge, manage, and minimize the ecological, economic, and aesthetic effects that the emerald ash boere will have on the K-State Manhattan campus. The objectives of this plan are to minimize the impact and potential for loss of ash trees by utilizing the best-known science of the time at the lowest cost to the university; limit the exposure to liability imposed by an infestation of the emerald ash borer; protect students, faculty and staff, and visitors from hazardous trees and conditions; and maintain the beauty and efficacy of university properties. 

With this plan in mind, members of the Kansas Forest Service also will host three 30-minute log milling demonstrations activities using logs harvested from ash trees rated in poor to fair condition on our campus. The demonstrations will be 11-11:30 a.m., 1-1:30 p.m. and 2:30-3 p.m. Thursday, April 25, on the east side of Dykstra Hall. The utilization of campus ash trees is an important environmental and economic management strategy and a valuable learning opportunity for multiple academic programs. While some ash logs may not be of a quality to be utilized for campus construction or student learning projects, some logs are of a quality good enough to be milled for later use on various building projects. 

To obtain and maintain Tree Campus USA distinction, K-State must meet the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry, set down by the Arbor Day Foundation which include, a tree advisory committee with student representation, verification of a campus tree-care plan, evidence of a dedicated annual expenditures for campus trees, an Arbor Day observance event, and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

Student involvement has been the driving force for the increased awareness, appreciation and promotion of our trees. Lack of understanding often causes misunderstanding, arboricultural students want to educate the campus community of the many benefits of trees. Once people realize the various benefits of trees and the importance of tree-planting programs, we believe, they will want to preserve them.