Fourteen young trees found a new home on the Union College campus this week thanks to the Ten Free Trees program, an effort of the Nebraska Forest Service and the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum.
During Project Impact Day on Thursday, September 7, a group of Union employees planted the new trees around campus. The Union grounds team was able to select from a wide variety of species to ensure they had the best options for their various locations.
Five species of trees were planted:
- Kentucky Coffee
- Swamp Oak
- Princeton American Elm
- Bur Oak
“It is awesome to put in these trees,” said Paul Jenks, director of Plant Services. “We even purchased four extra trees because we thought they would be great for campus.”
The new trees provided a boon for Union’s Joshua C. Turner Arboretum — home to more than 100 species of trees and shrubs. Some of the trees planted when the campus was built 130 years ago have reached the end of their lifespan.
“This is an excellent opportunity to replace old trees that have come down over the past few years,” said Steve Trana, vice president for Financial Administration. “We are grateful to the Nebraska Forest Service for investing in our campus.”
The Joshua C. Turner Arboretum on Union’s campus has been an affiliate of the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum since 1981.
About the Ten Free Trees Program
Despite providing a wide range of social, economic and environmental benefits, most Nebraska community forests have been in steady and sometimes dramatic decline. Many challenges contribute, including extreme weather, insects, disease and lack of diversity. The Emerald Ash borer is the latest major challenge added to the list.
In an effort to stop this decline and increase community forest resilience, the Free Trees program grants up to 10 high-quality trees for tree-related educational events and community celebrations promoting trees and fall planting.
In addition to simply planting more trees, the program goals include increasing appreciation and awareness of the value of community forests in Nebraska. Special emphasis is placed on species diversity and higher impact projects, especially street tree planting and projects in neighborhoods of highest need.
Ten Free Trees is supported by the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum’s Trees for Nebraska Towns Initiative funded by the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and a U.S. Forest Service Landscape Scale Restoration grant received by the Nebraska Forest Service.