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Tree walk to be part of Arbor Day celebration

April 8, 2009

KALAMAZOO--The unveiling of a campus tree walk will be part of Western Michigan University's Arbor Day Tree-Planting Celebration at 10:30 a.m. Friday, April 17.

Members of the public as well as the WMU community are invited to attend the event, which will be held at the flag poles on the West Campus Promenade near the Lee Honors College.

WMU's Arbor Day celebration
Wood Hall Tree Tour map and descriptions
Directions and parking information

The public also is invited to a ceremony at 1 p.m. April 17 that will feature the planting of a white oak tree in Kalamazoo's Kleinstuck Preserve. The event is being organized by the Kazoo School, which is located next to the preserve at 1401 Cherry St. The 48-acre preserve is owned by WMU and open to the public free of charge. It has a main trail that circles a wetland known for its migrating birds. The 1-mile main trail plus smaller spinoff trails are popular with walkers and joggers.

Arbor Day is a nationally celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. The official day for this year's observance is April 24.

WMU's landscape services department has been celebrating Arbor Day continuously since 2006. By holding its 2009 observance April 17--before spring finals week begins and the 2008-09 academic year ends--organizers hope more members of the campus community will be able to attend.

"We're looking forward to people turning out and investing a small portion of their day to reflect on the importance of trees," says Darrell Junkins, a grounds supervisor in landscape services. "This year's program will be especially exciting. We'll not only be planting a tree and explaining a little about Arbor Day, but we'll also be sharing some of the interesting accomplishments that we continue to build on for all to enjoy."

Junkins notes that during the event, WMU will formally recognize the Tree Campus USA designation it received this past December from the National Arbor Day Foundation and publically unveil its first campus tree walk, called the Wood Hall Tree Tour.

WMU was the nation's 12th higher education institution to be awarded Tree Campus USA status, which recognizes dedication to forestry management and environmental stewardship.

As a result of such dedication, the University has inventoried more than 4,500 of the trees located on its various campuses. These trees have been logged into a physical plant database, and 21 specimens in the vicinity of Wood Hall have been selected for the Wood Hall Tree Tour.

A tour map with descriptions of the featured trees will be available at the Arbor Day celebration. All of the trees on the tour are labeled, so people can pick up a map and take a self-guided tour after the Arbor Day celebration.

"WMU's trees are a valuable resource for students and for the local community," Junkins says. "We want people to enjoy them and help us preserve them."

Since 1991, the University has planted nearly 1,000 trees on its campuses and moved and transplanted another 270 from various construction sites.

During the same time period, 440 trees have had to be removed because they were safety hazards, too damaged to be saved or too large to be transplanted. The largest group of tree removals took place in 1992, when 65 trees were severely damaged by an October snow and ice storm.

Contacts

For more information about WMU's Arbor Day celebration or the campus tree walk, contact Darrell Junkins at darrell.junkins@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8557. For more information about the Kazoo School tree-planting ceremony at Kleinstuck Preserve, call David Feldman or Janice Russo at (269) 345-3239.

Related article
WMU among nation's first Tree Campus schools

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
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Western Michigan University
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