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NREM receives gift that keeps on giving


Oklahoma State University was selected as one of the state's campuses by the Tree Bank Foundation to participate in their Campus Trees Program.

The Campus Trees Program is a cooperative effort among the Tree Bank Foundation, Chesapeake Energy, universities and Oklahoma Forestry Services to add trees to Oklahoma university campuses. Chesapeake donated the funding for the trees and gatorbags, which are used for portable irrigation, while the Tree Bank Foundation manages the project.

"We chose OSU's Forestry Arboretum because we knew the trees would be heavily utilized for teaching, and recent storms and age left the arboretum in need of new trees," said Veronica Keithley, project manager for Cross Timbers Forestry and OSU graduate.

In total, 38 trees, encompassing 13 species, were provided and planted through the project.

"The donation of these trees will greatly increase the number of species and the size of the Afanasiev-Rigdon Arboretum," said Keith Owens, head of the Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management. "This arboretum is used for teaching and will allow students to see actual specimens rather than an herbarium mount. Having the actual tree also allows students to know their growth structure and form, which are often critical in identifying the species."

Chuck Tauer, professor of forest genetics in NREM, was both shocked and excited to hear about the project coming to Stillwater.

"It was a complete surprise," Tauer said. "The trees will be utilized in the dendrology course I teach, required of all forestry students, and an option for other NREM students, which many take."

The nonprofit Tree Bank Foundation has distributed more than 164,000 trees to Oklahoma's landscape, valued at maturity at nearly $200 million.

"It is through the strong partnerships that the Tree Bank has forged during its 24 years of advocating for urban forestry that this project was possible," said Keithley.

The 6-foot to 8-foot trees will provide both immediate and future benefits to OSU students.

"This gift will benefit future students as the trees mature," Owens said. "We appreciate the gift and the support of our forestry program."

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