A grant-funded tree-planting initiative will not only help reduce the university’s greenhouse-gas emissions, but also enhance the natural beauty of the campus landscape.
In partnership with the nonprofit California Urban Forest Council, West Coast Arborists Inc. has planted 50 trees throughout the campus. Funding for the trees came from Cal Fire’s Urban Forest Grant Program. As a grant partner, West Coast Arborists was tasked with finding participants for the program.
The species of trees planted on campus are the tulip tree, incense cedar, Modesto ash, valley oak, big leaf maple and shoestring acacia. Some of the trees were planted in the University Quad, the Engineering Meadow and in a greenbelt adjacent to the Bronco Student Center.
“They are not the common species on campus. It’s better to have a diverse set of species. It was intentional by West Coast Arborists and Cal Poly Pomona,” said David Pineda, grant supervisor at West Coast Arborists. “This creates diversity for drought resistance and pest resistance, and yet still ensuring the greenhouse-gas reduction benefit.”
West Coast Arborists is the tree maintenance contractor for the university and performs work that includes tree trimming to monitoring for pests such as the shot hole borer beetle, which had infested trees on campus. The new trees have not been found to host the shot hole borer beetle, Pineda said.
“This is a win-win for the campus,” said Richard Farmer, the university’s manager of Landscape Services. “The trees help replenish some of the stock that was lost to the shot hole borer beetle and make the landscape even more attractive.”
The trees have a value of $10,000 but were planted on campus for free. There is only one requirement: The trees are to be maintained by Cal Poly Pomona for the life of the tree.
“It’s easy to plant a tree but we need to make sure the tree is getting watered, it’s going to get trimmed, it’s going to get incorporated into the campus tree inventory,” Pineda said.
When mature, the trees will create a canopy that will provide shaded areas. The lack of shaded areas on campus was cited in a survey of students last spring semester and addressed in drafts of the upcoming Campus Master Plan.
The tree plantings also support Cal Poly Pomona’s longstanding commitment to sustainability and augment efforts in areas such as reducing carbon emissions, strengthening recycling programs and increasing water conservation initiatives.
“Every little bit helps when it involves sustainability,” said Monika Kamboures, the university’s sustainability coordinator. “Small acts such as tree plantings will yield enormous long-term benefits for the environment and the campus.”