As part of Triton College’s continuing commitment to serving as a community leader in urban forestry management, a bur oak tree was planted on the west side of campus on Aug. 2.
A yearly tree planting is one of the requirements to maintain its status as a Tree Campus USA school, which Triton was first granted by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2016. Members of Triton’s Greening the Campus Committee as well as other campus and community members attended a short planting ceremony.
“Trees are very beautiful, and humanity evolved in a savanna ecosystem, which was basically a landscape of trees and grasses, so we feel very comfortable when we have trees around,” said Triton College Sustainability Coordinator Adrian Fisher during the ceremony. “It’s also good for human health to be around trees, they store carbon which is very important these days, and they help regenerate oxygen.”
Fisher noted that the bur oak is the iconic tree the savannas and woodlands of the Midwest, making it the perfect species to plant on an Illinois campus. The tree, located on the Student Center Mounds, will eventually grow to be 60-80 feet tall.
“It’s a historic tree and it’s the first bur oak on Triton’s campus,” Fisher said.
Triton’s Tree Campus USA project was launched in spring 2016 by Kevin Li, Triton College dean of Arts and Sciences. Fisher oversees the project with the help of Triton’s Greening the Campus Committee and the Tree Advisory Committee. The latter includes student, faculty and staff representatives, along with a tree expert from the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill.
In 2016, the group planted a Nannyberry Viburnum tree near Triton’s Prairie Garden. In addition to the annual tree planting, Tree Campus USA requirements include creating a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, holding an Arbor Day observance and creating and sponsoring tree-related student service-learning projects.
Going forward, the Greening the Campus committee will work with students to create a map of all of the trees on Triton’s campus to share with the Morton Arboretum, which continues to provide guidance for Triton’s tree care initiatives. Additionally, in spring 2018, Triton will host an urban forestry workshop in partnership with the Arboretum as part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees. More information about Triton’s sustainability efforts is available at http://www.triton.edu/sustainability/. For information on the Tree Campus USA program, visit arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA. For information about the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, visit http://www.mortonarb.org/science-conservation/chicago-region-trees-initiative.
Caption: Triton College staff, faculty and guests at the dedication of a young bur oak at a ceremony on The Mounds, August 2. The oak was planted as part of Triton’s commitment to the Tree Campus USA program. Photo: Rachel Hindery