Planting for Posterity

Ten years ago, the University of Pennsylvania began a tree planting program. Each incoming class choses a tree to represent their class. They plant the tree on the college green, near the statue of Ben Franklin the university’s founder. The class then plants additional trees around campus.

This is exactly the type of program that 100KTrees for Humanity seeks to encourage. In the case of Penn, so many additional trees have been planted, since 2011, on the campus’ nearly 300 acres, that the entire University was declared an arboretum in 2017.

If you google University of Pennsylvania arboretum, you will find articles and pictures of the Morris Arboretum, which is also the official Arboretum of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is located in Chestnut Hill. The Morris Arboretum and Penn have a robust partnership promoting shared research, outreach and education programs highlighting the importance of trees. The main campus is 15 miles away from Chestnut Hill and has 21,000 graduate and undergraduate students and 17,000 faculty and staff. This is the location of the newly accredited Arboretum which encompasses the entire campus.

Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania

The tree planting campus tradition was created and encouraged by Bill Hohns (Wharton 1974). The entrepreneur thought that the growth of the tree, during the classes time on campus would contribute to the student experience. With the assistance of Hohns’ support, Penn’s campus has become a biodiverse urban forest with close to 250 species of trees and shrubs, over 6,000 trees, 10 specialty gardens and 5 urban parks.

In 2017, the University’s Architect, David Hollenberg said, “Our campus’ landscape character, and the design and management skills necessary to sustain it, has been recognized in this prestigious designation as an arboretum. Penn has dedicated resources and coordinated the care of a comprehensive tree management program over the course of many years, resulting in the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA designation.”

Every high school and college could have its own incoming class tree planting. Most high schools have several clubs that are likely to be interested in supporting tree plantings, including a Sierra Club or Hiking Club, a Science Club, and Environmental or Climate Change Club, Impact or Key Club. Tree planting groups are a great way to offset eco-angst and connect with others who also want to effect change.

Tag 100KTrees to share stories or pictures from your group.

Why does SymSoil care? We focus on solutions to environmental issues, with a focus on soil biology. Trees and plants feed, and are fed by, the soil microbiome. Healthy soil influences water, carbon sequestration and human health. SymSoil holds a patent on the first scalable approach to manufacturing Soil Food Web products as an alternative to agrochemicals.

SymSoil is a supporter of 100KTrees4Humanity, an urban tree planting project focused on action that moves us towards solutions to climate change with equity and inclusion.

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