Cameron University will hold its annual Arbor Day observance in conjunction with Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22 at 11:30 a.m. Members of the Biology Club and Cameron’s chapter of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society will be on hand to assist with the planting of a Western Soapberry tree in Cameron Park. The ceremony is open to the public.
“Cameron University is proud to have earned designation from the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for the second consecutive year,” says Dr. Terry Conley, Dean of the School of Science and Technology. “The university has added more than 1,000 trees to campus in the past decade. We hope our annual Arbor Day observance inspires members of the community to become good stewards of the environment.”
The Western Soapberry is named for its use of the fruits. When crushed in water the berries create suds that were used by Native Americans to wash clothes and as a varnish. The hard wood splits easily and has been used in basket making. The soapberry is an excellent shade or ornamental tree, reaching 40 to 50 feet in height. The medium green, glossy leaves have downy undersides and turn a beautiful deep, yellow-gold hue in fall.
In addition to adding to the campus’ beautification efforts, the benefits of planting trees are numerous. Trees play an important role in intercepting urban storm water runoff, which can contain chemicals, oils, salts and/or litter. Strategically placed trees can increase energy efficiency. In summer, trees shading east and west walls keep buildings cooler. In winter, allowing the sun to strike the southern side of a building can warm interior spaces. Trees also play a role in air quality by absorbing pollutants, intercepting particulate matter such as dust and smoke, releasing oxygen through photosynthesis and lowering air temperatures, which reduces the production of ozone.
The first Arbor Day was observed in Nebraska in 1872, when an estimated one million trees were planted. Arbor Day is now observed in all 50 states on varying dates in accordance with local climates.
April 16, 2015