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April 22, 2014
For more images of the Missouri Arboretum and its 20th anniversary celebration, click here.
Twenty newly planted trees now comprise a grove on the north portion of the Northwest Missouri State University campus in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the campus’ designation as the Missouri Arboretum.
More than 100 people – including Northwest students, current and retired employees, alumni and friends – gathered Monday afternoon, April 21, in the area just south of the Forest Village Apartments to mark the anniversary.
Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski and first lady Denise Jasinski planted the first commemorative tree with President Emeritus Dr. Dean Hubbard and former first lady Aleta Hubbard, Faculty Emeritus Dr. Johanne Wynne Fairchild, Missouri Arboretum Director Travis Stokes, Student Senate President Cody Uhing, Matt Berry in representation of Congressman Sam Graves and special guest Dr. Jean Brennan.
Then, dozens of the attendees – representing student organizations and campus offices as well as children attending Northwest’s Horace Mann Laboratory School – joined to plant the remaining trees. The new trees include Chinese scholars, Amur maples, tuliptrees, red oaks and dragon’s eye pines.
In remarks prior to the tree-planting ceremony, Jasinski said the Missouri Arboretum is now part of Northwest’s DNA. It has helped shape Northwest’s reputation as a beautiful, serene and safe campus.
“The Arboretum is not just a name. It’s not just a designation. It is part of who we have been, who we are today, who we will be in the future,” Jasinski said. “It also represents student success. Planting those roots and getting that value system rooted within. Learning, nurturing, growing, shaping, reshaping – that’s what we do at Northwest Missouri State University.”
The Missouri State Legislature designated the Northwest campus as the Missouri Arboretum in 1993. Today, the campus is home to more than 1,700 trees and more than 130 species cultivated from throughout the world. Three trails – the Gaunt Trail, Tower Trail and Chautauqua Trail – also traverse the campus to help visitors learn about the trees.
The tree-planting ceremony followed an anniversary luncheon at which Dr. Jean Brennan delivered a keynote address. Brennan, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore and members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a landscape conservation coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She also delivered a lecture Monday evening on the University campus as part of Northwest’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
During her address, Brennan expressed gratitude toward the University for its attention to conservation and, as a result, its quality of life. Brennan also challenged the Northwest community to do more in the face of climate change.
“What you’re doing here today in planting trees and in preserving the Arboretum is not extra,” Brennan said. “It’s become essential, and it’s become part of your life and your quality of life and the quality of life you offer your students, alumni, faculty.”
Although Northwest’s connection to trees dates to the 1850s when Thomas Gaunt established a tree nursery on the land that is now part of the University campus, the idea of an arboretum on the campus took hold during the 1980s. Fairchild, then an agriculture and biology instructor, had begun tagging the campus’ trees with the help of horticulture students. Eventually, she completed a listing of all of the campus’ trees and published the first in a series of “Tree Walk” pamphlets that included Northwest’s tree history as well as a listing of all tree species on the campus in 1992.
Through Fairchild’s efforts, University administrators including then-President Hubbard and Facility Services staff members worked to ensure legislation was created that designated the Northwest campus as the Missouri Arboretum. The legislation was sponsored by Missouri Congressman Sam Graves, who was then serving his first term as a state representative
The mission of the Missouri Arboretum, Stokes notes, is to collect trees, shrubs and other plants to display them across naturally beautiful landscapes for people to study and enjoy. Often, visitors to the campus get a sense of entering a residential neighborhood rather than an institutional setting.
That legacy grew Monday, not only with the addition of 20 trees, but with the announcement that Northwest has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, and sponsored by Toyota, to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Northwest achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
To learn more about the Missouri Arboretum and Northwest’s commemorative tree program, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/arboretum/.
Mark Hornickel, Media Relations Specialist
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Northwest Missouri State University
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