WMU to celebrate Arbor Day, Tree Campus recertification

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Tree City USA logo.

Events are planned for Friday, April 29.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Celebrants from Western Michigan University and the city of Kalamazoo will gather Friday, April 29, to observe national Arbor Day.

This will be the first time WMU has joined with the city to observe the day, which is a component of the nonprofit Arbor Day Foundation's conservation and education efforts to make the world greener and, therefore, healthier.

WMU is doing its part by not only systematically improving the two nature preserves it owns in Kalamazoo but also by caring for and periodically increasing the 131 acres of tree canopy on its main campus. That commitment to forestry stewardship was recognized again in February, when the Arbor Day Foundation recertified WMU as a Tree Campus USA for 2015.

Arbor Day activities

Darrell Junkins, a grounds supervisor in WMU's landscape services who is coordinating the University's portion of this year's Arbor Day observance, says the joint celebration with Kalamazoo is a natural outcome of the close connections the two entities have.

"We're a part of the community and the community is a part of us," he notes. "In addition, the Arbor Day Foundation has designated WMU a Tree Campus USA and Kalamazoo a Tree City USA."

Members of the public are invited to participate in the 2016 Arbor Day celebration, which will take place in two stages April 29. First, there will be a short program and tree planting starting at 10 a.m. near WMU's main campus. The second stage will take place at noon at Kalamazoo's Hayes Park near the corner of Factory Street and Miller Road.

The University will figure prominently in the morning activities, which will be held at the corner of Stanwood Street and West Michigan Avenue across from Stadium Drive and WMU's Seelye Center and Waldo Stadium. The site is a small triangular plot of land owned by the city that runs along West Michigan. Activities will include planting a red oak and burr oak, with members of the public invited to help plant the trees.

"The parcel is right next to WMU property, so the University will maintain the trees as part of its routine grounds duties," Junkins says. "The oaks we'll be planting have 4-inch diameter trunks. They're a little bigger than we normally plant, but big events deserve big trees."

Tree Campus status

This was WMU's eighth consecutive year earning the Tree Campus USA designation. The program promotes student involvement as well as helps colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.

WMU was one of 29 U.S. colleges and universities, and only two in Michigan, to be recognized by the Tree Campus program during its inaugural year in 2008. To retain the designation, it has to meet five standards for sustainable campus forestry and be recertified each year.

For more information about this year's Arbor Day celebration, contact WMU's Junkins, at darrell.junkins@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8557 or Todd Pryor, Kalamazoo public services forestry supervisor, at (269) 330-5321.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.