On October 30, Washington University staff and students gathered to plant 55 native Missouri trees and shrubs on the South 40, along Big Bend Boulevard between Shepley Drive and Wydown Boulevard. Grounds and Landscape Design Manager Kent Theiling led the second annual planting event, and project partners included WUSTL’s student chapter of Net Impact, Bon Appetit, the Office of Sustainability, Sleeve a Message, and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri.
All of the trees and shrubs planted are native Missouri species. Sleeve a Message bought the bare root seedlings, and Forest ReLeaf of Missouri incubated the seedlings until they were ready for planting. The trees offset the amount of paper pulp used for packaging in disposable retail outlets on campus. All Sleeve a Message coffee sleeves used on campus have over 90% post-consumer recycled material and water-based inks. For every 7,000 sleeves, the company plants a tree.
Nick Annin, Co-President of WUSTL’s Net Impact chapter, observed that “the tree planting was a really cool way to bring students and faculty together within the campus community on a service project.” “This is my second year participating,” he explained, “and it is always a rewarding and fun experience. There is something about working with dirt that sparks good conversations, and best of all, the trees we plant will most likely be there for the rest of our lives. It’s great to be able to make such a lasting impact.”
Washington University is committed to incorporating ecosystem service thinking into plantings and other aspects of campus landscape design. Sustainable landscapes facilitate storm water management, reduction of urban heat island effect, habitat creation, carbon sequestration, water filtration, air purification, and energy conservation through building shading.