This spring, Dean of William Smith College and Professor of History Susanne McNally and students in her “Food Systems in History” course, in cooperation with the HWS Campus Tree Committee, planted 15 fruit trees on campus. The Colleges’ first orchard, it is located behind the campus garden maintained by the Sustainable Foods Club.
“If it works out as planned, apples, pears and plums should be ready to harvest in a couple of years,” explains David Iannicello, the grounds manager at the Colleges. He notes fruit trees with late-summer to early-fall harvest periods were chosen so they would be ready to pick when students were on campus to take part in and enjoy the harvest.
In celebration of Arbor Day, the HWS Campus Tree Committee joined with the City of Geneva and the Geneva City Shade Tree Committee to plant seven Ginkgo trees at West Street School.
Last year, the Colleges were honored as a Tree Campus USA®, and one of only six such campuses in the nation to be chosen for a 2012 Tree Campus USA tree planting event, during which more than 70 trees were planted on the William Smith Hill. This was the most trees planted on the campus at one time. The 13-member Tree Advisory Committee was created in an effort to care for the newly planted trees and oversee a Campus Tree Care Plan.
The Tree Campus USA® designation recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy urban forests and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities centered on campus and community forestry efforts. The Tree Campus USA tree planting events are sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, Toyota and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education.
The campus now contains more than 1,700 trees from 42 genera and 73 species. Other greens-related initiatives on campus include a 2:1 tree replacement policy; mulching of plantings to conserve moisture; and recycling of leaves and grass clippings from campus grounds to compost and later add to soil as an amendment for planting.