LAWRENCE — On March 29, 1878, Chancellor James Marvin canceled classes in order to celebrate the first campus Arbor Day. Students were encouraged to assist with planting nearly 300 trees across Mount Oread in an effort to reshape the pastoral landscape of the newly forming campus.
Today, the University of Kansas is known for its campus forest, flowering crabapple and redbud trees, and the tree-lined Jayhawk Boulevard. And thanks to an effort that started in 2012, students are again volunteering to help plant trees through biannual Replant Mount Oread events. Since the program’s inception, the campus community has helped plant 175 trees and enhanced the campus landscape with plantings of iris, vinca, peonies and shrubs.
To celebrate that success and the 140th anniversary of KU’s first Arbor Day, this spring’s Replant Mount Oread event will highlight the impact of the trees that have been planted through the program. A ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, April 27, on the lawn of Watson Library will include a brief presentation on the history and success of tree planting on campus. An oak tree will also be planted in the lawn near the 2014 Replant site.
Volunteers will then disperse to tie ribbons around the trees planted as part of past Replant events. Temporary signs will also be posted in the surrounding landscape to highlight the ecological services of each group of trees, including stormwater management, energy savings, carbon sequestration and pollution reduction. A map of the sites and details about each planting can be found on the Center for Sustainability website.
The event also celebrates the sixth year in a row that the KU Lawrence campus has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA. Established in 2008, the Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. To achieve the status of Tree Campus, KU must meet five requirements that include maintaining a campus tree advisory board, tree care plan and tree care budget, as well as engaging students in service-learning opportunities and an annual Arbor Day event.
KU Medical Center was also recognized as a Tree Campus USA as part of a Tree City recognition event held in Lawrence on March 29. The city of Lawrence celebrated 40 years as a Tree City USA this year.
Replant Mount Oread is coordinated by the KU Center for Sustainability and supported entirely by contributions through KU Endowment. For more information, to volunteer, or to contribute to future Replant events, please visit www.replant.ku.edu.