April 14, 2023

Purdue on track to achieve 1869 Tree Planting Master Plan; continues efforts to advance plan


As Purdue’s 1869 Tree Planting Master Plan continues to receive national recognition, the university continues efforts to achieve the goals outlined in the plan.

The 1869 Tree Planting Master Plan was designed to create and maintain vibrant spaces and healthy ecosystems. It is part of the 2020 Physical Facilities Sustainability Master Plan and calls for a total of 3,738 trees to be planted by fiscal year 2025. The total number of trees was determined by doubling 1,869, a figure representing the year Purdue was founded.

In the last three fiscal years, the university has surpassed the original 1,869 goal with 1,882 trees planted. Phil Richey, Grounds director, says the university is on track to achieve the doubled target by 2025.

“We have been very strategic with planting new trees that provide a healthy, diverse tree canopy in specific locations across campus,” Richey said. “For instance, some native trees may cause problems for pedestrians and even motorists with falling fruit like nuts or berries. So we are mindful of which species we plant around central campus versus which trees we plant on the outskirts of campus, such as in Horticulture Park.”

Richey attributes much of the success of the tree plan to the knowledge and efforts of his staff. While this goal has been a huge undertaking for his team, he says it helps that his staff understands planting windows for certain species. He also attributes the success to utilizing volunteer groups to help with planting efforts.

“We have organized several tree plantings with other campus partners, which is a tremendous help to our small team,” said Richey. “We are committed to achieving this goal while engaging our partners and enhancing the overall campus landscape.”

Continuing with those efforts, the Grounds department is partnering with Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability, the Purdue Arboretum and the College of Veterinary Medicine for an Arbor Day tree planting on April 28. The event will also highlight the 14th consecutive year of Purdue receiving the Tree Campus USA award. Volunteers will help plant more than 140 native trees at the new David and Bonnie Brunner Purdue Veterinary Medical Hospital Complex.

“We are always excited to partner with various departments for events like this,” said Tony Gillund, Sustainability director. “We are fortunate to be able to collaborate with such incredible campus partners so we can keep working to meet the goal. We are not only persistent in our pursuit to meet our tree goal but also committed to building and strengthening partnerships for the greater good of the university.”

The tree planting event is just one of many scheduled events and activities throughout April for Earth Month. More information is available on the Sustainability website.

Grounds and Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability are part of the Administrative Operations organization. Administrative Operations supports the university through safe, reliable and transformative services. Taking action to add not only more trees but also more species to the campus landscape and ecosystem is one way the organization continues to power Purdue.

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