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10/16/2017

Approved Campus Tree Plan Brings New Beauty to Campus

Quick Facts

 People may have already noticed some new trees on campus, including a crepe myrtle near Richardson Hall and a willow oak between Founders Lane and Campus Green.
 About 30 smaller trees have been planted toward the back of campus.
 This long-range plan promises to strategically develop policies, procedures and practices for the planting, protecting, maintaining and removing of trees.

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ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – The campus and local community come together each year for the annual Christmas Tree lighting. The crowd always gasps in delight as the Southern Magnolia tree at the front of the Winthrop University campus takes on its colorful new canopy for the holiday season.

The Southern Magnolia tree, recognized by Trees SC in 2010 as a Heritage Tree for the way it evokes great community spirit, and the numerous others on campus are just one aspect of the university’s charm. Because facilities staff has had to remove many campus trees over the years due to various reasons including rot, age and damage to buildings, Chris Johnson ’99, sustainability coordinator, has often heard the question, “But what is Winthrop going to do to protect the trees?”

Enter the Campus Tree Plan. The Board of Trustees recently approved the long-range plan, which promises to strategically develop policies, procedures and practices for the planting, protecting, maintaining and removing of trees. Recommended tree species include Eastern redbuds, mountain laurels, red maples, post oaks, box elders and many more.

“Because we’re a historic campus, people expect large, majestic trees,” he said. “It fits with the character of our campus.”

Johnson said people may have already noticed some new trees on campus, including a crepe myrtle near Richardson Hall and a willow oak between Founders Lane and Campus Green.

“They’re 2-3 years old, they’re pretty mature and they have a better chance of surviving,” he said, adding that he’s planted about 30 smaller trees toward the back of campus. 

But people shouldn’t expect an influx of new trees all at one time.

“We’re looking very carefully at where those trees are going,” Johnson said. “We have to think about the species. We have to stagger the tree planting so that they’re not all maturing at the same time.”

Johnson said the Campus Tree Plan is also the first step to becoming Tree Campus USA-certified, a distinction only seven schools in the state share. The certification requires that the school hold an Arbor Day event each year. In fact, he hopes to hold a tree-planting event on December 1, South Carolina’s Arbor Day.

The Campus Tree Plan will be hosted on the Winthrop website.

For more information on the plan and Winthrop’s other sustainability practices, contact Johnson at 803/323-2390 or johnsonc@winthrop.edu.


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