Arbor Day 2014 at Western Michigan University turned out to be perfect weather, cloudy with light rain. If that does not sound like a great day to you, it certainly was for our guest of honor, Quercus coccinea, the Scarlet Oak. Thanks to our friends at WMU Catering, we were able to borrow a tent to help shelter our event’s documents, photos and information.
This Arbor Day Celebration was our ninth consecutive planting event and also highlighted our sixth consecutive year as “Tree Campus USA” as designated by The National Arbor Day Foundation. Way to "grow" Broncos!
The significance of having our tree planting at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center was emphasized by the reading of certain Arbor Day planting events, taken from the Kalamazoo Gazette articles describing festivities at the Western Normal School from over a century ago. These news articles were discovered by our friends at the Legacy Center. One article, dated 4 May 1912, was entitled “Normal Classes to Celebrate Bird and Arbor Day Fittingly.” This particular article noted the principal speaker as Governor Woodbridge N. Ferris. The governor of the State of Michigan was here to celebrate trees! This gubernatorial visit also seems fitting since the proponent and driving force of a national Arbor Day, J. Sterling Morton, lived out his childhood years in Monroe, Michigan and later graduated from the University of Michigan in 1850.
Arbor Day has deep roots in Michigan. Our tree planting ceremony continued with an in depth description of the Scarlet Oak including its range of habitat, growth characteristics, fall color, and other points of interest. We also shared references to our discovery, documentation and official recognition of a species of trees called Dwarf Hackberry. WMU has the state record for this tree species, located here on campus!
More detailed information can be found by contacting Landscape Services; we can direct you to the storyline of events involving the Dwarf Hackberry (Celtis tenvifolia)
Landscape Services always looks forward to sharing the Arbor Day experience with the campus community, friends, and neighbors. Come join us next year as we celebrate our tenth consecutive “modern day” tree planting adventure. Officially, Arbor Day is observed on the last Friday in April by Michigan and many other states.