Arbor Day 2023 tree campus USA flag

Arbor Day 2023 on the Main Quad

The national holiday Arbor Day was April 28, 2023; locally, it was easily seen on the University of Illinois Main Quad that day.

To celebrate, F&S helped plant and honor a new horizon elm tree just west of Davenport Hall.

Campus tree and sustainability experts spoke, including Brent Lewis, university landscape architect, and Morgan White, associate director of sustainability; Mike DeLorenzo, Vice Chancellor for Administration and Operations, recited a Proclamation from the Cities of Champaign and Urbana and Village of Savoy, and Chancellor Robert Jones. In it, April 28, 2023 was recognized as Arbor Day and encouraged the public to plant a tree or participate in educational programs to learn more about trees and the holiday.

Since 2015, UIUC has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA. The large and diverse collection of trees on campus is a valuable resource to Illinois. An urban forest improves air quality, provides a shady place to study, sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, and creates a habitat for diverse species.

Morgan White, F&S associate director of sustainability, noted another importance: in the ground.

“You can read the words on Davenport Hall itself about the importance of the ground we inhabit, disturb, and develop: trees make for more resilient and robust soil and groundwater systems,” White said.

Up there, on the southeast side of the building, facing the Main Quad, a quote from a former UI President.

The Wealth of Illinois is in her soil and her strength lies in its intelligent development.

Andrew Sloan Draper, President of the University of Illinois (1898-1904).

Students and volunteers with campus sustainability efforts, including the Student Sustainability Committee (SSC) and Red Oak Rain Garden were on-hand, and ran a vote for the best tree on campus. Five finalists were selected by students, faculty, and staff in preceding weeks: the Red Oak Rain Garden sister trees, a sugar maple near the Main Quad, a ginko near the National Soybean Research Laboratory, the Carolina silverbell on the grounds of the President’s House, and a black walnut on south campus.

In the end, the twin trees at the Red Oak Rain Garden, an American sycamore and a northern red oak, were declared the winners! The Carolina silverbell took second.

Mounds of Mulch

During the voting period, attendees–and anyone walking by between classes–could scoop some mulch from an F&S Grounds truck and distribute it at the tree planting site. Thanks for helping!

Guided Quad Tree Walk with Brent Lewis, F&S landscape architect

After the celebration, Lewis led a tree walk of notable Main Quad trees. Let’s go!

Arbor Day 2022