"The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now."
That Chinese proverb guides Replant Mount Oread, an effort by the University of Kansas Campus Tree Advisory Board to raise funds for campus trees and involve the campus community in annual planting events. Replant Mount Oread launched in the spring of 2012 to help maintain and enhance the beauty of the KU landscape and ensure that future Jayhawks will be able to experience the same benefits that students, staff, faculty and visitors enjoy today.
The project is launching a two-week fundraising campaign today with a goal to raise $5,000 for its April 11 planting on the Stauffer-Flint and Watson Library lawns. Contributions to the fund can be made through KU Endowment at www.kuendowment.org/replantmtoread. One of the first contributors to this fund was Ann Brill, dean of the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, who made a $500 gift in memory of her late husband, Larry J. Schmitz.
“We have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to planting trees on campus,” said Jeff Severin, director of the Center for Sustainability. “If we don’t start filling that gap and planting more trees than we remove each year, we are going to quickly lose an historic element of our campus that provides important cultural and environmental benefits."
Age, storm damage and disease take a significant toll on trees across the Lawrence campus, and in recent years the loss of trees has been as high as 80 to 90 trees per year. However, the current landscaping budget only allows for about 50 trees per year to be replanted and maintained.
The Replant Mount Oread two-week fundraising campaign will combine on-campus activities with an aggressive social media campaign during the first two weeks of March to meet its $5,000 goal. Volunteers will be visible on the KU campus with the Replant Money Tree for donors to attach bills or coins to, and messages will be spread on the Replant Mount Oread Faceboook page and on the Center for Sustainability Twitter account, @SustainKU. Individuals interested in assisting with the fundraising initiative can contact the Center for Sustainability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Stauffer-Flint Lawn has been selected for the 2014 Replant site in part because of its historic ties and its importance to modern-day student life. Many of the larger trees on this site are ash trees and may be susceptible to the emerald ash borer, a highly destructive, invasive insect that has been reported in neighboring counties. Although some ash trees on campus will be treated to protect them from the borer, Replant efforts like this one are a proactive approach to help mitigate future losses to predicted disease and damaging insect infestations.
Volunteers interested in participating in the April 11 Replant Mount Oread event on the Stauffer-Flint Lawn can sign up at http://www.sustain.ku.edu/replant/volunteer.
Replant Mount Oread is part of KU's efforts to meet Tree Campus USA standards. The Arbor Day Foundation recently honored KU with this recognition for the second year in a row. 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.
KU 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 projects.