Red tags mark campus trees to identify more than 30 species

Students curious about the red tags on campus trees should wonder no more. The red tags are the result of an inventory on trees, in which 875 were observed and 32 different species were found on SHSU’s main campus.”The red tags will stay on the trees; we’re going to keep them there until they rust,” said Justin Williams, professor in biological sciences, who implemented the project.The inventory began in early June 2002 and is now complete.Each tree was numbered, identified by species, measured by diameter and breast height and tagged. This was done to ensure future identification of each tree. This inventory was also made into a list that is available through the campus library, Williams said.”First of all, they’re beautiful; they add to property value and some of these trees are almost a hundred years old. They represent the age and integrity of the university,” said Williams.This is the first step in conserving SHSU’s natural environment. Any future altering of SHSU main campus will now be aided with a campus map of its trees.SHSU Physical Plant and the university office of Research and Sponsor Projects funded the inventory of trees through grants. The cost was an estimated $7,000, in which $2,000 was directly from the Physical Plant. It was implemented through the research help of Williams and graduate student Lauren Grawey.”That’s incredibly cheap,” said Williams, who essentially worked for free.Williams has only been with the university for a year, but has experience in doing this project through his previous employment at Austin-based Botanical Gardens.”I’ve done this before,” said Williams of his research.The overall objective of the inventory was to make sure no one builds over these trees in the near future.Williams and Grawey’s research also evaluated the overall health of the trees. The inventory suggested that 18 trees be removed from campus, while eight were in need of trimming. Of the 32 different types of trees species located on campus, the most represented tree was the Slash Pine, which is not native to Walker County. Other trees found on campus include Live Oaks, Water Oaks, Shumard Oaks, Willow Oaks and Magnolias. The research is available on the Internet, as well as throughout campus. The Nov. 16 conference of Sigma Xi will display a poster presentation. A Web site will also show the trees of Walker County and SHSU and a poster of the tree map will be sent to all those who helped in the inventories funding.Due to the success of the inventory, the University of Texas at Austin is seeking a map of its trees and is currently in negotiation with UT’s Physical Plant.

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