“Trees for Bees” celebration recognizes WC becoming a Tree Campus

By Megan Loock

Elm Staff Writer

As part of their celebration and effort to spread awareness for Earth Day and Arbor Day, The Center for Environment and Society hosted “Trees for Bees” at the Miller Library terrace on Friday, April 30.

The event was also held to commemorate Washington College’s receiving recognition as a Tree Campus in Higher Education under the National Arbor Day Foundation.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the largest 501©3 nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. 

According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, “Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.”

To achieve the title a school must meet the Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree-care plan, having dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, and holding an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.

The ceremony started with a speech from CES Educator Program Manager Jemima Clark.

“We chose this theme [Trees for Bees] to celebrate the close relationship between pollinators and trees to highlight the beautiful flowering trees on campus,” Clark said. 

Four students were recognized to be a part of the new student representatives for the CES’s Tree Advisory committee: juniors Alaina Perdon, Max Moore, Melissa DeFrancesco, and Analiese Bush. 

While DeFrancesco said she was unsure what exactly her role on the committee entails, because the role of the position is still in development, she said that she is “some kind of a voice for the student body” and she has a lot of input on the revitalization of the Arboretum and future Arbor Day events. 

The event was open for students on campus to sign up and enjoy the second half of the event that promised tree-inspired activities such as flower pressing — provided by Wildly Native, a local business-friendly with the WC campus — crafts, tree measurement and tagging, and tree stories. 

Students were also welcome to beverages and free honey purchased from Clark’s father Michael LaClair who owns bees in Cambridge. 

“We knew this event would have to be smaller and more spread out — due to COVID-19 — but really felt it was important to host an outdoor celebration that was participatory and focused on different aspects of trees,” Clark said.

CES had more to celebrate than gaining the official title as a Tree Campus for WC. 

As part of this celebration, a white oak was planted to honor Kent County local and the first female representative of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Teri Batchelder. 

“She drove the big forestry truck, wore boots and khakis, and had enormous confidence in her strength, knowledge, and skillsets when interacting with students or adults,” Clark said, “Her dedication to her craft, and her passion is inspiring.”

At the end of the event, students were welcome to bring home a swag bag, t-shirt, and other related merchandise provided by the CES.

“Next year will be big,” Clark said. “CES is ready to welcome back students and explore even more ways to engage and provide hands-on learning and Stewardship Action opportunities.”

“I hope that [this event] inspires [students] to [go to] more environmental events and more CES-related events because we have a lot of interesting topics that we present on, a lot of fun, engaging hands-on things,” DeFrancesco said. “I also hope it makes them stop and look around and not just look right past the trees.”

For more information on how to get involved with the CES and explore their extracurricular opportunities, students can visit https://www.washcoll.edu/learn-by-doing/ces/index.php

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