WSU’s campus is definitely a place of beauty; the well-kept landscape and vibrant colors make the university memorable to everyone in its space. Many of the beautiful elements on the campus grounds (the gazebo, benches, gardens near the PAC and Gildemeister Hall, Lauren’s Pond and more) were donated, and this week from Feb.13-20 recognizes and thanks donors for their contributions to campus as part of I Love WSU Week.

This brings me to the topic of trees on campus… can you imagine what our campus would look like without them? WSU takes a lot of pride and care in the greenery on campus, and there are many things you might not know about the trees and landscape you walk past every day. Here are some facts:

1) Many of the trees on campus have been donated. Tree donations started happening shortly after the streets that used to run through campus were transformed in the early 1990s into the wide sidewalks we use today.

2) The WSU Landscape Arboretum Committee was formed to further beautify campus. The Landscape Arboretum continues to develop the campus to be representative of the diverse southeastern Minnesota biome. It also promotes this unique landscape on the grounds, creates opportunities for the campus to be used as a living classroom, continues to develop the native species on campus and models ethical use of land and practices.

3) WSU’s Arboretum director is a landscape architect who manages a specialized staff. Lisa Pearson manages, along with Allison Quam, a staff that includes a horticulturist, turf and irrigation specialist and a certified arborist.

4) A complete tree inventory has recently been done of the campus, and the numbers are impressive. The inventory reveals there are more than 1,500 trees on WSU’s campus comprised of 143 species.

5) Two years ago, a settlement after using toxic fertilizer from a corporation funded a rapid restoration of the entire university landscape. After WSU used lawn fertilizer from a company that was mistakenly toxic to trees, the university lost around 100 trees. The settlement money WSU received from the lawsuit went towards the restoration that involved a couple dozen people from firms.

6) WSU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA the past three years. This is due to the time and effort the Arboretum has dedicated to the planting and maintenance of trees on campus and involvement in Arbor Day activities.

7) The Arboretum sponsors tree tours. To educate the public and its students about the trees on campus, tree tours are offered in the summer and fall months.

8) The trees on campus are scannable! Many of the trees on the grounds display a label with its respective popular name, scientific name and a QR code to scan and give smartphone users more information and photos about the species of tree.

Read the article I wrote for Winona360, a showcase for student journalism, about campus beautification over the years.

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Allison Mueller

Allison is a Journalism major and Psychology minor from Oshkosh, WI graduating in 2017. She is also the blog manager for the WSU Student Blogs. Her interests include rollerblading, hanging out with friends, playing soccer and basketball, and watching Netflix.