Tuesday may have felt more like mid-November than Mid-April, but it's spring nevertheless, which means that Northwest Missouri State University groundskeepers are moving forward with their annual round a tree planting on a campus designated as the Missouri State Arboretum.
To mark the start of this year's effort, Mayor Jim Fall was on hand to read an Arbor Day proclamation as Travis Stokes, Northwest's landscape and sustainability manager, planted a trident maple sapling just east of the Memorial Bell Tower.
Northwest, which received the arboretum designation from the state Legislature in 1993, has a long tradition of tree culture. Thomas Gaunt, who once owned the land on which the campus stands, founded a nursery there in 1857. Gaunt's tree-shaded house, now on the National Register of Historic Places, serves as the university's official presidential residence.
A lane running between the Gaunt House and the Administration Building, known on campus as the Long Walk, was once lined with a number of birch trees, leading a faculty member, the late Mattie M. Dykes, to title her history of the university's first 50 years "Behind the Birches."
Stokes said 75 new trees will be planted on campus this spring. The arboretum currently contains about 1,700 trees divided among 132 species.
A new species will be added to the list this spring when a Swiss stone pine is planted on the north side of campus near Forest Village Apartments.
In preparation for Earth Day on Monday, April 22, the university will host a Geo-Olympics this Friday sponsored by the Northwest Geo Club. Contests will include a backpack race, eight-pound hammer throw, a navigation challenge and a mud scramble. The event is to begin at 2 p.m. in College Park.
On Earth Day itself, activities will include a "dumpster dump" at 2 p.m. at the North Complex and South Complex residence halls. During the event faculty and staff will sort through trash left in a dumpster to show how much of a day's worth of refuse can be recycled.
At 7 that evening in Charles John Theater, Scott Tinker will host a showing of the documentary film "Switch," which examines the quest for a sustainable, balanced energy policy. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion.