November 3, 2015

Contact: Jessica Hunter

Cal Poly to Host Fall Arbor Day Tree Planting and Receive Tree USA Award Nov. 10

SAN LUIS OBISPO — In recognition of its selection as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, Cal Poly will honor its arboreal roots with a ceremonial tree planting at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10.

The ceremony will take place between the Warren G. Baker Center for Science & Mathematics (Building 180) and Faculty Offices East (Building 25). Speakers will include Cal Poly President Jeffrey D. Armstrong and Provost Kathleen Enz Finken, as well as Professor Matt Ritter, the Cal Poly Conservatory director.

Officials will plant a Queensland kauri pine in that portion of the campus, where rare conifers are planted. Fall is the best time to plant trees in California, and the tree adds to the campus’s diversity.

“Our campus has in excess of 6,600 trees in the campus core, and 545 distinct species,” Ritter said. “That’s insanely diverse.”

Cal Fire’s John Melvin, the state’s urban and community forestry coordinator, will present the Tree Campus USA award to President Armstrong in recognition of Cal Poly’s commitment to managing its urban forest.

Being a Tree Campus USA celebrates the size and diversity of trees on campus. Some notable ones include the Founder’s Tree, a valley oak planted in 1906 by Cal Poly’s first graduates; a rare American Elm; the even rarer Australian Wollemi pine, a species dating to the dinosaur era; and a 154-foot eucalyptus that is the tallest Karri Gum tree in North America.

“Being a Tree Campus USA also celebrates that this is an educational facility where students are surrounded by an incredible diverse urban forest,” Ritter said. “Our faculty can use it for educational opportunities for generations of students to come. In celebrating that, we can augment it, preserve it, and make Cal Poly a even more special place.”

Following the ceremony, Ritter, a renowned expert and author on trees, will lead a 45-minute tour of 20 remarkable trees on the Cal Poly campus.

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