To plant, care for and preserve

TRU Sustainability launches new Campus Tree Program with the goal of maintaining one of the earth’s most vital sustainability attributes: trees

TRU Sustainability planted a number of trees on campus and plan to continue with its final planting event on Oct. 21. (Submitted)

The TRU Sustainability Office’s new TRU Campus Tree Program is designed to allow members of the TRU community to actively get involved in helping maintain one of the planet’s most vital sustainability attributes: thriving and healthy trees and forests.

Members of the TRU community are encouraged to volunteer in the one-year pilot, whose three overall goals are planting, care and preservation of trees on the TRU campus. The office is working with members from the TRU Grounds and Horticulture Departments who will supervise all program activities, as well as other members of the TRU community who are helping to ensure the success of the program.

TRU Campus Tree Program launched on Sept. 22, 2021—the 10th anniversary of National Tree Day—with an opening ceremony in front of the new Chappell Family Building for Nursing and the Population Health building on the TRU Kamloops campus. Ten Celebration Maples were planted.

Environmental Programs and Research Coordinator, James Gordon, says “There is more to planting a tree than a lot of people might realize.”

“We want to make sure we plant the right tree, in the right location and we then want to make sure we take care of that tree properly after it is planted. That is why we need and want volunteers to join in.”

“A lot of the trees, especially the younger ones, need to be wrapped in deer fencing. Bucks sometimes tend to rub against the trunks and damage the bark, which can eventually end up in the tree dying. Mulching is also important, as it protects the whole tree by keeping moisture in and allowing a constant trickledown of nutrients. Pruning is also sometimes important.”

Gordon went on to explain, “there are roughly 1,700 existing trees on campus. Whether it’s large trees, special trees, or trees of cultural significance. Preservation of those already existing trees on campus is of the utmost importance.”

Since the launch of TRU’s Campus Tree Program, five more trees have been planted as part of TRU’s Pacific Northwest Grove on campus while 15 more are slated to be planted this coming Thursday.

Gordon is most excited for the program’s last planting event on Oct. 21, in which a new Forest of 51 large saplings will be planted near Lot N in commemoration of TRU’s 51st Anniversary.

If you would like to volunteer for the program, please email sustain@tru.ca, and put in the ‘Volunteer Tree Program’ in the subject line of your email. Volunteer team members will have opportunities to learn how to plant, care for and help preserve trees, as well as how to identify existing trees of significance on campus that are protected.

The Program plans to record all activities on tree works to capture relevant data concerning the pilot. Using lessons learned during the one-year pilot program, the program plans to create a template for a ‘Canadian Campus Tree Program’ that other Canadian universities and colleges could consult if they wanted to start a similar program on their campus.

TRU sustainability has also pledged to consult with members of local First Nations about trees of cultural significance on campus throughout the remainder of the program.

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