Name That Tree

This past spring, Jiayi "Judy" Chen '15 of Guangzhou, China, sat with her advisor, English teacher Geoff Hilsabeck, and hatched a plan: label the trees on campus. "We were talking about the beautiful weather and the budding flowers in front of Ware Hall," recalls Judy. "The conversation triggered my memory of tree labels at my old school. Every tree at my old school would have a plastic card that says its name, usages, and other fun facts. I remembered having fun reading these cards and learning about different trees with my friends. I thought that a lot of people have a special feeling for the trees on campus."
 
Judy recounted that this past winter, a red oak on the Circle was damaged in a devastating snow storm: "I heard people keep saying how sad they were.  In a sense, trees are like people: they have families, they have names, and they have certain personalities and poise. They are like our silent friends on campus, who stay with us no matter there's heat, rain, or snow storm."
 
Early this April, when the trees were starting to sprout, their "dazzling beauty" gave Judy the inspiration to make these trees more known on campus by labeling them.  Working with science teacher Mr. Hutcheson, Judy identified 37 trees on campus, representing 17 different varieties, and labeled 15 of them with attractive metal markers (see Judy's project map below).  Her hope is to double that number in the fall and to make tree labeling an ongoing project.  After all, there is plenty of work to be done:  Middlesex has over 400 campus trees, representing 44 different species.   For now, we learn a little more about the environment around us every time we walk around the Circle, thanks to Judy.  
 

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