TREE-TASTIC CAMPUS: UW-Eau Claire is an Official Tree Campus
with more than 100 species of trees, greenery abounds at UWEC
Created in 2016 with the planting of one hundred trees, the UW-Eau Claire Arboretum is part of what makes the college a recognized Tree Campus. There are 410 Tree Campuses in the United States, 10 of which are in Wisconsin.
Most of the 111 species of trees in the Arboretum are labeled with genus and species information, and include a QR code for quick viewing – the code links to an online map with photos of the tree’s leaves, flowers, and bark. The bark photos make it easier to identify the trees in the winter months too.
“Seeing the different varieties throughout the campus is analogous to diversity in all of our lives and the strength and resilience we achieve through it,” said Matthew Staudenmaier, the City of Eau Claire’s forestry supervisor. “Same-ness is not the goal. Celebrating difference is!”
That celebration of diversity extends to the management of the Tree Campus. Part of earning the certification includes the creation of a campus tree advisory committee, maintenance of a campus tree-care plan and an annual budget for the program, hosting Arbor Day events, and organization of tree-related student service-learning projects.
“SAMENESS IS NOT THE GOAL. CELEBRATING DIFFERENCE IS!”
CITY OF EAU CLAIRE FORESTRY SUPERVISOR
The advisory committee brings together members of the student government, staff, active and retired faculty, and members of campus clubs. Daria Hutchinson, UWEC’s landscape architect, is one of the committee members. Staudenmaier calls her “the driving force and passion behind” the university’s arboretum and successful Tree Campus certification.
Hutchinson works with students to map the trees and is currently recording the height and diameter of each one. The numbers will be used to calculate the volume of carbon emissions offset by the arboretum. The arboretum is one of 18 being studied by the National Science Foundation as part of its work in understanding the effects of climate change on trees.
As an extension of the university’s 2023 celebration of Arbor Day (which fell on April 28 this year) will include tree-planting events during Homecoming Week. Hutchinson says that future plans for the development of the arboretum include student-led tours and ongoing educational opportunities and events for students and members of the public.
Walking the Putnam Trail and through campus is the best way to enjoy and appreciate the arboretum, and both Hutchinson and Staudenmaier encourage members of the public to get involved in supporting and caring for trees.
“Watering during dry times, shaming mischief makers who damage trees, planting appropriate trees in the appropriate place, and advocating for more trees are all fun things the entire family can do!” Staudenmaier said.
Staudenmaier said absolutely every effort helps, its impacts felt far in the future too. “The benefits to be had are not just immediate; rather, they will be manifest in generations to come!”