A sparkling spring afternoon provided a perfect time to reflect on the benefits of trees—along streets, in parks, on school grounds and in our own backyards.
Representatives from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus and the city of Fond du Lac joined about 30 Parkside Elementary third grade students and their teachers in a joint Tree Campus-Tree City awards ceremony and Arbor Day program. Students helped with the planting of a redpointe maple at Adelaide Park, east of Parkside Elementary School along West Arndt Street.
“Would you want to live in a place without trees?,” City Arborist Brian Weed asked the students. “When you walk down the sidewalk, there’s shade and you can hear birds singing in the trees.”
The group was surprised to hear there are more than 20,000 terrace and park trees in Fond du Lac.
Students were given hands-on instruction on planting and watering trees and carefully placing mulch around the trunk that appears more like a “doughnut” than a “volcano” heaped against the bark.
“You can come here 20 years from now and see that tree,” he told them. “You can be proud.”
UWO Fond du Lac values natural landscape
Assistant Chancellor of UWO access campuses Martin Rudd spoke about the 180 acres at UWO Fond du Lac that is enhanced with an arboretum and prairie—and lots of trees.
“We are in the business to restore the natural landscape,” he said, adding that many of the 176 trees are fully accessible and identified from interpretive trails that wind through the Gottfried Prairie and Arboretum. In addition, a student-led project to label trees closer to the campus buildings will be part of a service learning project.
The campus has earned it second badge for a shiny wood plaque, signifying its second consecutive Tree Campus honor.
Arbor Day background
Weed provided a history of Arbor Day, noting J. Sterling Morgan started the tree planting event in Nebraska on April 10, 1872. Arbor Day took hold in all 50 states and it is celebrated the last Friday in April. Weed encouraged students to take care of trees and help them last as long as possible.
This year marks the 33rd consecutive year the city of Fond du Lac will be honored with a Tree City USA designation. Though recognizing the value of trees for many years, UWO Fond du Lac began applying for Tree Campus honors two years ago.
UWO is the only university in the UW System with all of its campuses achieving Tree Campus designation.
Fond du Lac City Council President Kay Miller read a proclamation. She and City Manager Joe Moore unfurled a large Tree City banner for the students to see. The UWO Fond du Lac representatives showed off their Tree Campus plaque and a banner.
Students were given the opportunity to take a young tree home to plant in their yards.