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Ohio State faculty and students collaborate to protect, preserve trees on campus

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Some students, staff and faculty at Ohio State will become stewards of their trees at ArboBlitz Friday.
The event, aimed at preserving and maintaining trees around OSU’s campus, is being put on by Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens and Tree Campus USA. Attendees will be able to measure and identify trees around campus.
Mary Maloney, the director of Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens, said the event started two years ago.
“Two years ago there was going to be two, almost 200-year-old trees that were going to be removed for the new (Wexner Medical Center),” Maloney said. “So we got together with many people at Ohio State, and facilities, and horticulture, and EEOB (Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology), you know different disciplines, just to talk about what we need to do about the way we are treating trees at Ohio State.”
Maloney said this led to the creation of a committee devoted to advocating for the trees.
The committee decided the best way to advocate for the trees was to get a Tree Campus USA certification from The Arbor Day Foundation. To qualify, a campus must develop a campus tree advisory committee, develop a campus tree care plan, allocate dedicated funds to support a campus tree program, provide an annual Arbor Day program and provide ongoing service learning projects for the campus community.
In April, OSU received its Tree Campus USA certification. Maloney said the certification helps get support for tree-related campus projects.
“It needs a budget to be maintained,” Maloney said. “Buildings have budgets to replace the furnace and paint the walls and fix the toilet. Landscapes have the same budgetary needs.”
As part of maintaining its certification, OSU must provide ongoing service learning projects involving trees for the campus community, and ArboBlitz is one way to do that.
Maloney said after an orientation, students, staff and faculty participating in ArboBlitz will spread across South Campus to identify trees, assess tree health and measure the tree’s diameter at breast height, or the diameter of the tree’s trunk.
While there will be experts at the event, Maloney said experience is not a prerequisite for attending.
“You can hold a clipboard and I can say, ‘Write down the condition of this tree as a health assessment is fair or good,'” Maloney said.
The way the trees will be inventoried will be different than last year’s event. In ArboBlitz 2011, participants used GPS technology to map and log trees. Maloney said this method was slow and they plan on getting more trees logged this year by just using maps.
Maloney said this event is important, and that students need to be aware of trees on campus.
“In my mind it is the responsibility of everybody – the French majors, the music majors, the geology majors, the physics majors – to have an appreciation, and in fact stewardship, responsibility to care for our campus,” Maloney said. “You will not be able to sit under the canopy of a 200-year-old tree if for 200 years, somebody is not being mindful of it.”
Some students said they think caring for the environment is important for all students.
“As a human being, it is your responsibility to take care of the environment,” said Hans Tilokani, a fourth-year in economics.
Jake Richelmann, a first-year in chemical engineering, agreed.
“Trees are a good way to maintain a healthy atmosphere,” Richelmann said. Environmental stewardship is “a collective effort within the student body and also the entire Earth.”
The Friday event starts at Caldwell Lab in room 120 and will run from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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