Denison’s tallest residents

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The leafy trees lining the walkways on campus have always been special to Denison, but the college’s first arboretum makes it official.

Denison’s Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee recently developed an arboretum that preserves 34 of the campus’s most visible trees, all native species of Ohio, for education and enjoyment. Each tree has a plaque containing a QR code (a square bar code graphic that can be scanned by mobile devices) that links to the Denison University Arboretum website containing identifying information.

Warren Hauk, associate professor of biology, explained that the arboretum will “provide an opportunity for students and visitors to learn about trees native to this state, and to appreciate and love them as part of our heritage.”

The arboretum seemed like a natural next step after the Arbor Day Foundation re-certified Denison as a Tree Campus, USA for another year. As part of the planning process, the Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee inventoried every single tree on campus – all 3,000 of them.

Jeremy King, the campus sustainability coordinator, plans to expand the arboretum through innovative new ways. He helped to develop an opportunity for people to memorialize an existing tree or donate a new one from a list of species needed for the arboretum. If desired, the tree’s plaque can contain a link to memorial information.

King is also working on a carbon-offset program that will allow people traveling to Denison for business to donate a tree to the arboretum or bio reserve.

“We’re giving people a choice to engage and connect,” said King, a member of the Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee.

Hauk plans to teach a class in the fall that identifies the native trees of Ohio, starting with the ones right here on campus.

“We always think of other places as exotic, but we never consider that what we have here is really valuable,” said Hauk, a member of the Tree and Landscape Advisory Committee. “There’s a lot to be proud of in Ohio.”

Two tours of the arboretum were given on Wednesday. Hauk gave tips on identifying the trees, as well as insight on the history of their economic uses. Those interested in signing up for future tours can contact Jeremy King at kingje@denison.edu.

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