Were you aware that Cal Poly harbors more than 5,000 trees alone? It’s true. Of these 5,000, more than 300 of them are unique species. If these statistics aren’t already radiating a brotherly borealis of colors in the shape of an enormous self-congratulatory peace sign, then prepare to be impressed when informed that this lush, dense jungle is perfect symbolism for the diversity of Cal Poly’s actual student body.
Arbor Day has sprouted from the paved earth like a floral Kaiju, and my inner cynic admits that the dedication of the university to map, compile details upon, and generally encourage the enlightened advocacy for the preservation of the extreme myriad of its trees is, actually, quite impressive. The Arbor Day Foundation having named Cal Poly a 2014 Tree Campus USA is evidence of this, but perhaps what I like most about the business is that it forms yet another fine detail in the masterful “Learn By Doing” regime the campus is so fond of.
Working toward making a visual, walk through tree encyclopedia out of the agriculture school you worked your butt off to get accepted into must be tremendously satisfying. For those for whom trees are not an important point of study, having enough random arboreal knowledge accumulate simply through normal class-to-class walks to believably feign an air of capability on the next family camping trip is practically a godsend.
California Arbor Week, designated by California lawmakers to be from March 7 to 14 is, by the publication of this column, nearly over, but the effect of two planted redwoods on March 13 at 10 a.m. on the east side of the Mathematics and Science Building will continue to increase as the ages pass. Perhaps, some time in the future, if even for a mere 24 hours, SLO Transit patrons may look upon a majestic tree while waiting for their buses, and salute it for the hard work it does, racing fingernails and continental drift toward some unspoken speed limit.
Perhaps, in honor of the tree’s endless commitment toward cleaner air, a bus-goer will actually consider, for the first time, openly acknowledging that his/her lit cigarette was never permitted in the first place. Until then, and hopefully long after, Cal Poly’s collection of trees of varying rarity, and their supplementary information, will remain a worthy target of wandering eyes, even if only as a pathetic excuse to not have said eyes visibly fall upon the “No Smoking” sign mere inches away.
Contributor Chris White-Sanborn would knock on wood were he not afraid of a ghostly “who’s there?” Send collegiate news to firstname.lastname@example.org.