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Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

KU group investing in campus trees

April 6, 2012, 11:49 p.m. Updated April 7, 2012, 12:43 p.m.

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Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little dedicates the planting of some new redbuds March 29 along Jayhawk Boulevard. A new group of faculty, staff and students at Kansas University is trying to raise money to benefit the many trees throughout the campus.

Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little dedicates the planting of some new redbuds March 29 along Jayhawk Boulevard. A new group of faculty, staff and students at Kansas University is trying to raise money to benefit the many trees throughout the campus.

A new group of faculty, staff and students at Kansas University is trying to raise money to benefit the many trees throughout the campus.

A new fund, set up through the KU Endowment Association, is just launching, said Jeff Severin, director of KU’s Center for Sustainability.

In an ideal world, the fund would provide enough for a full-time staff person to maintain an ongoing program, replacing trees as needed as well as keeping up with other maintenance.

While Severin estimated that position, with the needed trees and supplies, would likely cost about $75,000 per year, a specific goal has not yet been established for the fund. The cost of 50 new trees would be about $25,000, Severin said.

A new tree advisory board, consisting of several members of the campus community, will work on that and other issues in the future. The board also will allow KU to apply for designation as a Tree Campus USA, a sister program for the long-standing Tree City USA designation. Baker University in Baldwin City has been designated as a Tree Campus for two years.

Robert Hagen, field education coordinator for KU’s environmental studies department, is on the new tree board.

“There’s a great deal of concern about trees,” he said.

Diseases and insects are threatening pine and ash trees on campus, while other trees are simply aging.

“There are some beautiful (ash trees) in front of Watson Library and Fraser Hall,” he said. “They’re in serious trouble.”

The group sponsored a recent event that was attended by KU’s chancellor that replanted some redbud trees along Jayhawk Boulevard. The trees, across Jayhawk Boulevard from Watson Library, had been taken out as part of work on an underground steam tunnel in the area.

Severin said trees have historically been a part of the campus’ natural beauty. Marvin Grove, an area of trees near the Spencer Museum of Art and Campanile Hill, was once populated by walnut trees planted under the direction of James Marvin, KU’s third chancellor, who served from 1874 to 1883.

Today, that area is one that’s targeted for renewal.

Environmental studies students will help with some parts of the effort. For example, they’ll put together an inventory of the campus’ current trees.

Severin said the tree board also may recommend policy changes that could address issues such as replacement of trees removed because of construction.

“We don’t have any sort of specific policies for that right now,” Severin said.

Comments

blindrabbit 2 years ago

Please excuse my misspellings in my 8:07!

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blindrabbit 2 years ago

Large persimmon trees are hard to fing around here, one of the worst examples of destroying one was by the City of Lawrence. There was a very large one in what is now the circle diveway at the Visitor's Center in North Lawrence (U.P. train station). The tree was at approaching 2 feet in diameter (about the same sixe as the Strong Hall one) and could have been saved with a little creative design, incorporating it into the landscape. I called City Hall and expresses my concern about it's pending removal to the City Manager (about 15 years ago) but got no sympathy. The tree was removed "in the still of the night", I guess someone at the City wanted to make some golf club heads (best wood for that)!

Another old mishapen one can be foung along the sidewalk in the little park that is just west of Pickney School. I don't think it produces (either a male tree or too damaged to produce). Look for the checkerboard bark on the tree, very unique to these kinds of trees.

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pace 2 years ago

Good for them. Worthy work and effort. They will be giving to the University, their neighbors, and for generations. I have always loved the mix of trees on the campus. With all the cuts to facilities, so much is getting neglected, it is great to see some people getting together to do something. It is how the world gets better. I have no suggestions except, to wish them the best.

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years ago

hmmm? all that land on west campus and the sustainability people can't figure out how to raise trees? like tree nursery? like botany enrollees learn how to grow a tree?

KU used to have a greehouse! Where is the necessity to spend $25,000 for only 50 trees? Grow them!

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George_Braziller 2 years ago

I've lived here for 30 years and never knew why it was called Marvin Grove until this article.


"Marvin Grove, an area of trees near the Spencer Museum of Art and Campanile Hill, was once populated by walnut trees planted under the direction of James Marvin ...."

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Jayhawk_4_Life 2 years ago

how about a repaving of not just jaywalk blvd., but all streets on campus

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techmanmacho 2 years ago

I wonder what Facilities & Operations thinks of this idea?

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Jane 2 years ago

One of the most beautiful spots on campus in the spring is on the east side of Watkins Health Center. There are 6-8 crabapple trees that create the most beautiful canopy when in full bloom. I always make it a priority to enjoy it every year. There is a japanese lilac tree near the entrance to the chancellor's residence that is very beautiful in early summer. It is a beautiful campus, for sure.

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RogersState80 2 years ago

I dont know maybe you should ask them.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years ago

said Jeff Severin, director of KU’s Center for Sustainability. +++++++++++++++++++++ Would this position be there if the school was in the private sector?

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RogersState80 2 years ago

I think this is a great idea. I went to a small college that was out in a field. We decided to plant trees and today its a lush forest. There are so many trees that we can barely even walk across campus without seeing squirrels, spider monkeys, and tropical birds. Students know can sit in class and often look out the window and see bears, deer, foxes, rabbits, and even the occasional bigfoot.

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blindrabbit 2 years ago

One special tree on KU campus, the large American Persimmon tree on the East side of the sidewalk leading to Strong Hall. If I'm not mistaken that tree was specially planted many years ago, and is not the common form of the tree; the fruit are quite a bit larger than the common form, and not as large as the oriental (grocery store type which will not grow here). Years ago, I picked up some of the fallen fruit (you have to be quick, as others know about the fruit as well) and started quite a few seedings, all have done well out here West of town. The problem is that persimmons are either male or female, you need females to produce fruit and a male pollinator in the vacinity. Again, you don't know which you have until they start to blossom, some 10 years out. Of the 15 or so seedlings I planted from the Strong Hall tree, so far 3 are producing females. The fruit from these are large, again larger than the wild type found around here. Trees are very productive, fruit is great (wait until after a freeze) and be ready to fight off the opossums and raccoons. The neighbors dog ate a bunch last fall, the residue from his overindulgence was a sight to see, thankfully it rained later that day.

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