The Arkansas Forestry Division and the University of Monticello College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources recently added more trees to the UAM campus for use in the school’s plant identification classes.
“Some of the plants are physically available on campus, some are not. For those plants not on campus, UAM has to haul our students to them off campus, on field trips, which is an expensive and time-consuming venture,” said UAM emeritus and campus volunteer Lynn Thompson who initiated a sapling-planting project to increase the diversity of woody plant species available to forestry students in plant identification classes.
“To increase plant variety, the campus needs to introduce more new species and more plants where we have few individuals,” Thompson said. “This can be done by identifying badly needed species and getting them growing on campus.”
Thompson said he asked Arkansas Forestry Division staff forester, Chandler Barton, if he could get the word out to County Foresters that UAM was looking for certain species, some of which are rare on the campus.
Barton and Urban Forestry Coordinator Krissy Kimbro located a nursery with five trees on our “species needed” list. The Forestry Division offered to purchase and donate them to UAM. Since UAM would need more of these species, the university purchased a second set of trees, according to Thompson.
Thompson and campus crew member Wade Barnard planted American basswoods, red mulberrys, swamp privets, witch hazels and black locusts in locations with suitable habitats and soils.
They planted a basswood and a red mulberry sapling near the museum, medium-sized swamp privet plants near a “wet drainage” in the arboretum, witch hazel, black locust and basswood saplings in the forestry park, and a red mulberry west of the apartments where there is much better soil. A flag will be placed on the stakes next to the plants to make them more visible to mowers.
Thompson will continue the project through the spring and summer to ensure that the plants are protected from fire ants and deer and adding water as needed.
Thompson started as a professor at the School of Forestry 41 years ago. He retired in 1980 and continues to volunteer on forestry projects such as the campus Arbor Day project and city tree-planting projects.
“UAM needs to thank the Arkansas Forestry Division for donating five species, especially Chandler Barton, for doing the legwork to get the saplings ordered. Chandler and the Monticello Forestry Division staff hauled the trees from the nursery near London, Arkansas, to UAM,” Thompson said.