By Tyler Whetstone
“Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.” – Wendell Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front
President Dan Boone quoted Berry two years ago when he began to have serious talks about preparing Trevecca’s campus to be considered an arboretum.
David Caldwell, executive vice president for finance and administration, along with Jason Adkins, environmental projects coordinator, has been working since then to extend the tradition of planting life on Trevecca’s campus to achieve arboretum status.
When Trevecca moved onto the campus that it currently sits on in 1935, the land was more or less bare, said Adkins.
Slowly, presidents and alumni have worked to plant new trees across campus, none more so than former President Homer Adams. Although Adams is well into retirement, he continues to give gifts to the university in the form of trees.
“David Caldwell wanted to honor those gifts that have been given to us over generations, of this amazing canopy of trees that we now enjoy. And this was kind of a fitting way to honor generations that have planted, not for themselves, but for the future,” said Adkins.
Trevecca received a letter from the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council announcing their acceptance as an arboretum and is considered a level two arboretum. There are four total levels.
To become a level two arboretum, a property must have 60 distinct species of trees labeled. That is, there may be duplications of trees, but there must be at least 60 different trees labeled with both the botanical and common name listed.
Trevecca has marked 67 distinct trees on campus and a total of 230.
A level three arboretum has 90 distinct trees labeled, and a level four is a place similar to Nashville’s Cheekwood where there are workers waiting to give tours of the property.
Currently, Trevecca is content with being a level two.
Trevecca is in the process of developing maps with each tree labeled, so that individuals may give themselves self-guided tours.