Unique Trees Bring Beauty and History to Campus
Ask students what attracted them to Keene State and they will not only mention the opportunity to pursue their academics goals, but also comment on the College’s campus setting. With good reason – the picturesque campus in the southwestern corner of New Hampshire is adorned with ivy brick buildings surrounded by a bevy of beautiful trees, plants and shrubbery.
“I do take a lot of pride in how the campus looks,” said Bud Winsor, the assistant director of physical plant in charge of grounds. “Every time we plant a tree, we actually do think about what the students see and feel the first time they walk on campus. We really want them to feel comfortable and make it feel like home.”
The trees on the 150-acre campus not only provide students with a welcoming and vibrant setting, but serve as a sanctuary for those interested in learning about their origin and unique part of the College’s history. That was never more apparent than Earth Week, when the campus spent time to reflect on the role the environment plays in our lives.
To begin the celebration, Eco-Reps, a peer-to-peer education program that works primarily in residence halls to make students aware of how their actions impact the environment, joined the College’s grounds department to highlight the range of trees across campus. The students adorned 20 trees with green ribbons to signify their uniqueness and historical connection to the campus. A QR (Quick Response) bar code was affixed to each ribbon so people could get detailed information about the tree, including its name, origin, health and ultimate height. The code connects people to over 1,000 trees in the inventory database.
The tree inventory has become a learning tool for everyone, including Noah Washburn, the College’s arborist. “If there’s a tree I’m not familiar with, I can go right up to it with my phone, type in the number and figure out exactly what I’m working on,” he said. “It makes me more efficient at my job.”
Later in the week, Winsor led a guided tree tour around campus. In addition to explaining the QR codes, Winsor talked about the rich history of the trees. He pointed out some of most fascinating trees on Keene State’s arboretum-like campus including an impressive dawn redwood located on the quad as well as several gingko trees (of Chinese origin) that can be found in front of the art gallery and media arts buildings. There are also many trees dedicated to honor faculty, staff and students, including members from the Keene State community who lost their lives during World War II. More recently, an American elm tree was dedicated to Ian Burns, a 1994 KSC grad and Eagle Scout who earned his tuition by selling elm tree seedlings throughout New England.