The environmentally friendly campus of Lake Superior State University looks even greener thanks to a recent donation of more than 300 trees by the Superior Watershed Partnership and Land Conservancy (SWP).
A crew of four young adults from SWP’s Great Lakes Climate Corps (GLCC) spent a week planting 339 carefully chosen and strategically placed saplings across campus: 200 white spruce, 85 maple, 32 chokecherry, 12 white oak, and 10 eastern white pine spanning the central heating plant, the Fletcher Center, the row houses, and the Center for Applied Science & Engineering Technology.
“In the planning stages of this project, we coordinated with the university to prioritize native species that provide both community and ecological benefits,” said GLCC Program Manager Tyler Penrod. “For example, the oaks and pines at the Fletcher Center will one day offer excellent hammocking as well as filter and absorb runoff before it enters the Great Lakes. And the chokecherries will produce a tasty snack not only for students but also for wildlife.”
The trees should grow for decades, continued Penrod, “many with lifespans that can exceed a century. They will provide habitat and food for wildlife while serving the community with improved water quality, shade, and opportunities for outdoor recreation.”
This effort was part of an initiative announced last May by the nonprofit and Marquette-based SWP to provide 100,000 trees free of charge for planting throughout the Upper Peninsula via funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The public has planted some; GLCC has planted others. The many positive gains from trees—others include reducing soil erosion and removing carbon dioxide—“epitomize SWP’s mission to protect and improve the natural resources of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on a watershed basis by promoting responsible individual and community actions that ensure a sustainable environment, encourage a sustainable economy, and help improve quality of life,” Penrod said.
“SWP’s mission echoes LSSU’s regarding enhancing the quality of life of the Great Lakes region, so when they reached out to us about this possible synergy, we were grateful and excited,” said LSSU President Dr. Rodney S. Hanley. “Plus, LSSU’s core values include environmental stewardship and one of the pillars of our strategic plan is sustainability. These new trees are a wonderful, mindful thing.”
SWP, which formed in 1999, and its GLCC intend on collaborating with LSSU again on donating and planting hundreds more trees at the cutting-edge $14 million Richard and Theresa Barch Center for Freshwater Research and Education facility, scheduled to open toward the end of 2021.