Cool Campus Challenge Creates Shade
by Goretti Alvarez and Katie Hetrick, FOA Communications
From April 1 through April 26 UC Davis, along with the eight other University of California campuses participated in the 2019 Cool Campus Challenge. The purpose of the challenge was to educate and inform the university community to take simple steps to save energy and reduce waste in order to lower its carbon footprint. Campuses earned points through each action students, faculty, and staff took to cut carbon emissions in their daily lives, which included a number of sustainability-focused events.
“One of my favorite events of the competition was our tree planting,” says Camille Kirk, director of the UC Davis Office of Sustainability. “Instead of just taking online pledges, we wanted to create a long-lasting monument to carbon sequestration.”
The tree planting event, created and coordinated by Eileen Hollett, a Carbon Neutrality Initiative Fellow with the Office of Sustainability, took place over the course of two days when 33 volunteers planted California native trees – eight western redbuds and 4 valley oak trees along the eastern border of the campus.
Students, staff and other members of the UC Davis community participants were also able to learn some interesting facts about campus trees and best tree planting practices while gaining hands-on experience. Aside from the plantings, volunteers took part in a carbon calculator activity to determine the amount of carbon sequestered by each tree now, and learned how that will change in the future as they grow.
Hollett, along with Campus Arborist Melanie Gentles and campus landscape architects, chose highly visible, open spaces where no future development is planned to locate the trees. Interpretive signage is also planned for the area to educate the community about the importance of trees to our environment.
Along with raising awareness, this event will also help UC Davis retain its title of a Tree Campus USA, which requires that the university sponsor a yearly, student-involved tree planting event.
Interested in seeing these beautiful trees? Check out both locations, the path entering campus along A and 3rd Streets and the other on A and 2nd Streets.