Kent State celebrates Arbor Day

Julie Riedel

Sprinkle or overcast five new trees joined campus during KSU Arbor Day Celebration on Thursday, April 21. The new trees came from a Tree Campus USA Arbor Day Mini-Award. To receive the 1000-dollar grant KSU partnered with the Holden Arboretum as the campus’ Alliance Community Trees member. KSU was eligible for this grant due to its status as a Tree Campus. 

“I get to interact with the kids, it’s fun to have a break from classes,” said Kali Bachman, sophomore early childhood education major and employee at the Kent State Child Development Center.

The celebration included a reading of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” to the children from the Child Development Center, environmentally friendly crafts like pinecone birdfeeders, and information about recycling and sustainability on campus was provided by several campus organizations. Each of the five trees were planted near the recreation fields across from the Child Development Center, and the first tree was planted by the children from the Child Development Center, and the next four were planted by KSU students.

“I’m very glad to be volunteering for Kent State University and meeting leaders for resident services and environmental affiliates, and giving back to Kent State through community service,” said Joshua Dadante, freshman pre-nursing major volunteering for Kent Student Ambassadors.

In the past KSU celebrated Arbor Day by awarding the winning dorm in the Recyclemania contest a tree. This year the tree was awarded on Tuesday April 19, and given to the second place dorm Lake/Olson due the typical winner Engleman hall running out of space to plant another tree. For first place Engleman won money for a hall party.  

“The story that we’re trying to tell on Arbor Day is the story of diversity, not just diversity in the trees but diversity in people too because diversity is important for both populations of plants and of people. We know that divers communities are more inclusive and that diversity can lend itself to just learning from each other and growing and building better stronger communities working together collaboratively and the same goes with tree as well,” said Chad Clink, KSU alumnus and Holden Arboretum community forester, “In this situation we selected several different trees from the same family but diversified so if something were to happen to one specific species that was out of our control we would still have a strong population and a resilient population because we created diversity in our plant population, and it also helps tell the story of diversity.”

KSU has been titled a Tree Campus for eight consecutive years since the start of the program. To receive the title a campus needs a tree advisory committee, tree care plan, tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day celebration, and service learning project, from the Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA website. Alan Siewert from The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry presented this year’s Tree Campus award to Mark Polatajko, Ph.D., Kent State University senior vice president for finance and administration during the Arbor Day Celebration.

“Trees are good and Kent State is committed to having a progressive canopy cover and planting program,” said Heather White, grounds manager of university facilities management at Kent State University.

In addition to the Arbor Day celebration KSU has Earth Month events including Biology Club Campus Clean-Up on April 23, Buckthorn Pull and Wetland Restoration Tree Planting on April 30, Super Service Saturday for the Herrick Conservatory Greenhouse on April 30.

“It’s important to protect our environment, but one of the reasons that, that is important is because everything we use comes from our environment, every waste product that we produce goes back out into our environment, and we can’t separate ourselves from that,” said Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability.