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OSU branches into Tree Campus USA program

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

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Hundreds of tree-enthusiasts came to campus to join in Ohio State’s pursuit in becoming a member of Tree Campus USA.

Tree Campus USA is a program that recognizes colleges and universities that effectively manage trees and that interact with students about trees on campus.

To become a member, OSU must create a tree advisory committee, develop a campus tree care plan and allocate annual expenses to maintain the program.

The university must also hold an Arbor Day observance and engage the students to participate in service learning opportunities dedicated to improving the trees on campus.

Columbus has been a Tree City USA member for 32 years, according to arborday.org.

Mary Maloney, the director at the university’s Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens, organized the event, ArboBlitz.

“It was a very successful, broad turnout of various students from all disciplines,” Maloney said.

ArboBlitz was OSU’s four-day event to promote the importance of trees on campus Oct. 5-8. According to its website,

ArboBlitz featured tree lectures, tree tours, tree climbing demonstrations and tree care demonstrations.

Maloney said she would like to see people not involved in forestry take interest and continue their involvement.

The inventory of all trees on campus took place last week during the final two days of ArboBlitz.

“If it were up to me, everyone on campus would take a tree class,” Maloney said. “Wherever you live on this planet, you need to know your trees.”

OSU forestry majors worked with university landscape architects to divide the campus into nine quadrants.

Groups of 10 people led by a guide convened on one of these quadrants known as the academic corridor, the Oval and central campus.

Mike Pedley, a fifth-year in forestry fisheries and wildlife, said having guides lead the groups was a great idea.

“Some people don’t know the types of trees or how to measure them,” Pedley said. “It was a learning experience for everyone involved.”

The objective was to enter every tree into i-Tree, software designed by the USDA Forest Service to log a tree’s specifications and track its growth. This helps determine how current trees are coping and what new types of trees should be added to help stimulate the area.

Program leaders would like to see ArboBlitz become a twice a year event, with an inventory in the fall and tree planting in the spring.

Maloney said it is important to plant new ones and take care of the old ones.

“This has to be an ongoing activity,” Maloney said. “New trees are added, old ones are lost.”

The use of the i-Tree will keep track of the progress of all trees on campus.

The OSU Buckeyes are named for the state tree, the Buckeye tree. One goal of ArboBlitz is for students and the community to take pride in their trees and to stay committed to becoming part of Tree Campus USA college.

Professor Jim Chatfield, an OSU extension educator, said he wants students to stay involved in this project.

“It’s important to understand how trees help us,” Chatfield said. “How our leafy friends are paying us back.”

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