If you’ve seen people hammering nails into trees, don’t be alarmed. The nails won’t harm the tree and they’re part of a project to tag each tree on campus. Student worker Jackie Boyle ’13 (photo), who’s minoring in environmental studies and majoring in management, is working with the College’s sustainability coordinator to attach tiny, numbered brass tags to each tree. Each tree has its own number that correlates to a large spreadsheet documenting the diameter of the tree, its location on campus and the tree species.
What’s the purpose? A similar survey was finished in the 1970s by Terrence Marsh, professor of biology and Harold and Eva White Distinguished Professor in the Liberal Arts Emeritus, and his biology students. That audit recorded 398 trees; the 2010 audit includes more than 800 trees. The idea was to collect tree data to ensure the College moved toward its goal of developing an urban landscape with diverse, healthy trees. The current audit will document how far we’ve come and help educate the campus community about the diversity of urban trees on campus and their benefits to air quality and the overall campus environment. So, the nails are a good thing.