Planting hope for the Future

By Briana Richert '20 on October 10, 2019

Glen Arboretum hosts tree planting event for Campus Sustainability Week

The Glen Arboretum
The Glen Arboretum is a treasured campus and community resource located adjacent to Smith and Van Bokkelen Halls.

Campus Sustainability Week is coming to a close, but the final event will make an impact that will last for years to come.

Finishing a week of education on topics such as advocacy, water justice, food waste, land use and transportation, Towson University will host a tree planning inside the Glen Arboretum on Friday, Oct. 11 starting at 11 a.m.

The event will include participants preparing the sites for planting where volunteers are instructed on how to properly plant their tree. Once the trees are in the ground, the event will switch to the removal of some of the Glen Arboretum's invasive plants, such as English Ivy. 

The Office of Sustainability, which sponsors the event, is hoping planting trees will educate students on how they can create a lasting environmental impact on campus. And along with providing personal satisfaction, a life-long skill education, and a deeper connection and appreciation of the university’s natural spaces, the event also allows student groups to earn service credit for their organizations.

This tree planting sparks a major achievement in moving toward the Glen Arboretum’s objective of establishing all of the native trees in Maryland in one location. Ranging from fringe trees, red hickory, shellback hickory, mountain maple, Allegheny chinquapin, and pin cherry, there will be 15 trees and 30 shrubs planted this fall.

Learn more about the Maryland Trees Collection at Towson University

According to James Hull, Ph.D., emeritus professor of biological sciences and the director of Glen Arboretum Board of Directors, there are approximately 125 native tree species in Maryland. After this event, the Glen will house 110 of them. 

“Planting a tree is an act of hope for the future,” Hull says. “These trees can live for many years for enjoyment and appreciation.” 

Tree planting not only serves as a major source of impact for TU’s campus, but adds to global environmental aid as a whole. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions are associated with land use change, mostly stemming from agriculture and deforestation. 

“Every time we plant a tree, not only are we reaffirming our commitment to the environment and acknowledging the value of natural systems, we are also providing hope to the next generation,” says Patty Watson, TU’s assistant director of sustainability. “Plus, they clean the air, absorb stormwater, sequester carbon, provide a habitat and reduce energy use by offering shade. I can’t think of a better way to end a week celebrating sustainability,”

Read More: TU ranks among greenest campuses in the U.S. 

With the rising effects of climate change and high carbon emission deteriorating the environment, the benefits to tree planting are tremendous. Trees contribute to the absorption of carbon dioxide by removing and storing the carbon while releasing oxygen back into the atmosphere.

In one year, a mature tree will absorb more than 48 pounds of carbon dioxide. This event will coincide and help further TU’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, already achieving a 40% emissions reduction rate.

“As the institution evolves, we will continue to make thoughtful choices through strategic planning and partnerships to help reduce our environmental impact while creating a more sustainable community,” Watson says.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.