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Historical Trees on Campus

legacy trees that inspire & witness the advancement of knowledge

Historical Trees on Campus

Trees are integral to campuses of colleges and universities. Tree collections at many schools are used for teaching and help to define the sense of place that many scholars associate with learning and discovery. Old trees on campus property may predate the institution. They are witnesses to campus history and are meshed in campus folklore and in the lives of students, staff, and faculty. Just as recruiters know that the campus landscape is an important driver of school choice, alumni recognize that their emotional connection to their alma mater often is manifest in an appreciation for trees that may be centuries old.

This site is intended to draw attention to the oldest, most historic trees on campuses. Research to support this site began in 2012, inspired by the 150th anniversary of President Lincoln signing the Morrill Land-grant College Act. Tree collections at land-grant universities are especially important due to their common mission to teach practical botanical science and agriculture. The site launched in late 2013 with a focus on the earliest land-grant universities. It is hoped that the site will expand to include additional land-grant schools as well as other public and private institutions of higher education.

  • Content is welcome from any college or university with a physical campus.
  • Up to ten individual tree specimens may be highlighted from each institution.
  • Institutional experts may select the specimens from their campuses and gain limited administrative privileges for managing content on this site.
  • Only living trees should be highlighted.  Future expansion of the site may permit inclusion of photographs and records of trees no longer alive.
  • Contact Bill Graves with inquiries or comments (graves@iastate.edu).

Thank you for visiting

Bill Graves
Iowa State University
graves@iastate.edu