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Sustainability is about ecology, economy and equity.- Ralph Bicknese

Getting to Know Our Trees

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yaySometimes I forget how lucky I am to be living in a city with trees around every corner, lining sidewalks and providing helpful summertime shade. It’s only when I see a city without the same amount of bark that I realize how remarkable Seattle is. To be able to appreciate so much nature in such an urban setting is truly something to be thankful for, and no city matches Seattle in terms of tree diversity. Since trees are such a frequent and welcome presence to us here, perhaps we should take the time to be neighborly and learn some of their names. First off, let’s take a look at the three most present types of trees in Washington State.

Douglas-FirDouglas Fir

These guys can live up to 2,000 years. Their branches are positioned high on their trunks, and they make up the tallest species of tree in the city. The state tree of Oregon, Douglas firs are just as common here, found in front yards and state parks alike.

Western Hemlockhem

Washington’s state tree, Western Hemlocks are the largest of the Hemlock family, reaching a maximum 259×31.5 ft. They appear very cozy, supplying more shade than others, a premium tree to sit under and relax.

redWestern Red Cedar

Seattle’s native cedar, these reddish-brown barked trees can grow to a towering height of 277×78.5 ft. or more, making them the tallest of the cedar family. To see an example of one on SPU’s campus, look northwest of Moyer hall and check out the tree positioned diagonally between Moyer and Marston, seen before arriving at the bottom of the steps that take you up to the long walkway in the middle of campus.

Though these three are the most common species of tree in the Seattle area, SPU’s tree population is much more varied, echoing the diverse state of Seattle’s overall tree population. In total, there are 29 different kinds of trees to be found on campus! A few especially notable and recognizable ones are:

English Elm

SPU has two of these, but one of them is the tallest tree on campus, at an estimated 113 ft. tall. Look for it on the Southwest end of Tiffany loop, as if you were walking to Alexander or Moyer hall.

Pyramidal White Poplar

The most prominent tree on campus, this is the one positioned at the center of tiffany loop, welcoming visitors and providing a friendly trunk to lean against for students. It is the largest of its kind in Seattle, estimated at 101 ft. tall.

Pacific Wax-Myrtle

Look for this small tree on the northeast corner of Peterson Hall, passed by us students on our way to Marston. The tree is notable here for being the largest of its kind in the city at 28×27 ft.

Cider Gum

You can check out the only Australian tree on campus on the west end of Alexander Hall, positioned between Alexander and Moyer.

Do you have any favorite trees on campus? Any trunks you find perfectly accommodate your back, any leaves that provide a shade somehow more comforting than others? Give virtual tree-hugs below.

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