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August 19, 2020 LA GRANDE, Ore. – Through careful planning and planting, Arborist David Yoder helped Eastern Oregon University become a Tree Campus USA for the first time in 2016. Then in 2019, EOU was chosen as home for one of the 45 Hiroshima Peace trees that Oregon received.
“The Arbor Day Foundation developed Tree-City USA and then Tree-Campus USA in an effort to standardize tree care and appreciation of arbors in small cities and on campuses,” Yoder said.
EOU has many native trees on campus, including Douglas Fir, Western Larch, Lewis and Clark Elm and various pines, but Yoder has stepped up to provide and maintain a welcoming, homey environment that goes beyond the basics.
Yoder has worked to help EOU meet the standards set by the Arbor Day Foundation to become a Tree Campus. This program has five criteria that each campus has to meet: 1. Establishment of a campus tree advisory committee, 2. Creation of a campus tree care plan, 3. Evidence of annual expenditures, 4. Organization of an Arbor Day Observance, and 5. Service learning project. With Yoder’s guidance, EOU has met those goals for four years running.
In 2020, the foundation changed its name to, “Tree Campus Higher Education,” though they still uphold the same core values. The program revolves around student participation, as well as careful planning, resulting in a published plan for how trees will be handled on campus.
Annually, about 100 students help plant trees and participate in Arbor Day activities that celebrate the various species of trees flourishing at EOU.
“This is a student-led program. Each year we’ve had student-led plantings where we bring out classes,” Yoder said. “One year we planted around the dormitories, and another year we used the range management lab course and we planted a range landstrip.”
In addition to native trees that grow on campus, Yoder said the ginkgo biloba Hiroshima Peace Tree is also thriving. Initially he had not heard of Peace Trees.
“It is a tree that was grown from the seed of a tree that existed in Hiroshima at the time of the bombing, and we were fortunate enough to be selected as a location for the planting,” Yoder said.
As the seasons change, Yoder continues to make plans for the trees on campus. Whether that be more plantings or upkeep, he works to ensure the health of the trees on campus.
“We do these sorts of things [Tree Campus USA] to engage administration, faculty, staff and students—to give them a broader look,” Yoder said. “A lot of times we walk through life with our heads down. We’re trying to open up the world to them and say, ‘Hey, there’s stuff out here that matters. It’s creating oxygen for us, it’s making cool places to sit in the summertime in the shade.’”
For more information about Tree Campus USA at EOU visit eou.edu/facplan/tree-campus.
By PR Intern Emily Andrews
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