Last Thursday members of the Class of 2015 planted their class tree. Arboretum Director, Bill Astifan and Horticulturist, Carol Wagner welcomed the class. Under threatening skies and distant thunder (a non relative of Irene’s) the Prunus ‘Okame’ was settled in to the ground. ’15 takes up residence next to ’10 in the allee along Leeds green. These cherry trees are the first to bloom on campus.
Friday was a day of preparation for the pending storm. The entire college system was making arrangements. The upper classmen were allowed to return early, Safety and Security, Facilities Management and the College Administration had action plans in place.
The Arboretum only lost two large trees and they were both on the perimeter of the property. A Celtis occidentalis, hackberry, fell on the Feather Bed fields were the cross country course begins and a large Quercus alba, white oak, fell in the woods between HCA road and the south parking lot. The Climbing Tree, a sentinel of the college landscape and beloved by generations of kids, Maclura pomifera, osage orange, is being evaluated today as Irene’s wind caused it to shift and lean further to the ground.
Classes have started and everyone at the college is relieved and thankful to Irene. Considering the forecasts and projected sustained winds the campus was very fortunate and had minimal damage.