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Tree Tour – Blue spruce and Japanese maple

I am on a roll giving tree tours on campus this fall; the joys of a sabbatical; I am available. I enjoyed Kimberly Ritchie’s Art and Sustainability students and can’t wait to see the work they produce- drawings and research. I love interdisciplinary work and the fact that Plymouth State University values such enterprises. I especially enjoy making discoveries with students- examining more subtle and close up features of trees.

Credit goes to Steve Sweedler at PSU who was in charge of plantings on campus for so many years. Thanks to him we have 106 species of trees; how many students and alumni appreciate we have an arboretum- an outdoor museum of trees- surrounding us!

Of course we checked out the Blue spruce, in front of the dining hall)- the state tree of Colorado, where I am from originally. Picea pungen is native to North America, the central and southern Rocky Mountains.

The students were particularly interested to see the red samaras (seeds of the Japanese maple, commonly called helicopters or whirligigs- a favorite word.) As I learned from former student Katama Rose Murray, a great natural dye can be made from these beautiful trees. There is a nice specimen alongside Hyde Hall, almost opposite the Peace garden.

A tree tour for the public, sponsored by the Plymouth Historical Society, followed by a talk is coming up the last Wednesday in October. The walk is at 3, meet in front of the Plymouth Historical Society building and the talk is at 7 pm. Attend either or both; they will cover different material!

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