The campus of Northern Michigan University will be enhanced by the planting of new trees, thanks to a major gift from an anonymous donor.
About 100 trees representing a mix of native deciduous species will be planted this fall. Most will be concentrated in the academic mall framed by the Learning Resources Center, New Science Facility, West Science Building and Jamrich Hall. Others will extend east through the pedestrian corridor to Seventh Street. Canopy-style species will be planted on both sides of Harden Drive from the Fair Avenue entrance to West Science.
The trees will have 3-inch-diameter trunks and range from 15-20 feet. Additional trees will be planted on campus in the spring.
“We are grateful to the donor for this creative way of giving,” said NMU President Fritz Erickson. “These trees will be a gift that students, faculty, staff, families, returning alumni and community members will be able to enjoy for generations to come. The project enhances our physical campus and supports our sustainability initiative, but in a way that does not compromise safety.”
Regarding this gift, the donor said, “During a recent visit to Northern, I was made aware of an initiative by university leadership to enhance landscaping of the campus. I saw an opportunity that aligned with my own interests in connecting people and places. It is a pleasure to support this project for the ultimate benefit of the entire community.”
In advance of the planting effort, NMU crews trimmed, and in some cases removed, trees and shrubs that were either overgrown, damaged or encroaching on buildings, sidewalks and parking areas. They also trimmed trees with low-hanging branches to improve visibility.
“I think it’s important to note that we trimmed far more trees than we took down, and we did that for both safety and aesthetic reasons,” said Jim Thams of NMU Engineering and Planning. “When branches extend near the ground or encroach on a building entrance, it creates a potential hiding spot. So we trimmed those trees to a height of 6-7 feet off the ground.”
G & J Site Solution, a Calumet landscaper, submitted the successful bid for the project and expects it will take about a week to plant the first 100 trees this fall.