Notre Dame will celebrate Arbor Day this Friday, April 27 with a tour of the campus’ most magnificent trees and the lauch of a virtual tree tour, which allows users to learn about campus trees and take self-guided tours at their convenience.
“The virtual tour was a collaboration between the Office of Sustainability and Barbara Hellenthal, Curator of the Museum of Biodiversity & Greene-Nieuwland Herbarium in Jordan Hall of Science,” explained Sara Brown in the Office of Sustainability, who spearheaded the project. “Barbara was instrumental in developing the descriptive captions accompanying each of the 30 tree species described. AgencyND worked with us to develop the website layout, which utilizes Google maps to locate the campus trees.”
Hellenthal, author of the campus classic Trees, Shrubs, and Vines on the University of Notre Dame Campus, will lead Friday’s Tree Tour. The group will meet at 2:00pm at the steps of the Main Building.
“There’s fascinating history behind so many of our campus trees,” said Hellenthal. “We’ve incorporated this information into the virtual tour so it’s accessible to everyone.” Visitors to the Tree Tour website will discover that the oldest tree on God Quad is the Black Maple, which sits between Main Building and the statue of Father Sorin. Just left of the Basilica is a Dawn Redwood tree, grown from the first of this species ever brought to the United States in 1947, six years after its discovery in China. Notre Dame is also home to the Indiana Big Tree state record Honey Locust, which towers 105 feet tall and overshadows the left side of Hayes-Healy Center.
The Office of Sustainability is currently working on developing a mobile app that will let users access the information from the tour on-the-go, and is in the process of applying to be a member of the Tree Campus USA Program, sponsored by The Arbor Day Foundation. This program recognizes colleges and universities that effectively manage campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus limits to promote healthy forests, and strive to involve their students in service and learning opportunities focused on tree sustainability.