New arboretum with 150 trees begins to take root on Bakersfield College campus | News

When you think of the most beautiful college campuses in the United States, in effect they all have one thing in common: the richness of healthy trees in a range of shapes, sizes and species.

Trees reduce air pollution, emit carbon, expel oxygen, inspire calm (even in the last week) and provide shade, making it one of the most valuable commodities in Bakersfield during the city’s long, punishing summer.

On Saturday, a small contingent of organizers and volunteers planted 50 new trees on the main campus of Bakersfield College, northeast of the city. Fifty more will follow. 50 more, all for the creation of the Bakersfield College Arboretum.

“One of the ideas behind Bakersfield Field College Arboretum is to create an outdoor living laboratory for students in horticulture, forestry and plant science to experience learning,” said Melissa Iger. Kern’s Tree Foundation.

“Each different species and variety of trees will be labeled with a botanical name, common name, family and country of origin for easy identification,” Iger said. “We will also create a weblink for more information about each tree.”

No one knows the exact number of trees currently on the Panorama Drive campus – or the number of tree species.

New trees planted Saturday only include jacaranda, October Glory Maple, Black Tupelo, Coast Live Oak, Cork Oak, Oklahoma Redbud, Bay Laurel, Kay Paris Magnolia, Purple Smoke Tree, Marina Madron, Ginkgo and Keith Davy Pista.

On the north side of campus, an arboretum is planted near Panorama Drive.

Marcos Rodriguez, executive director of BC’s facilities and operations, said the campus will be a beacon for the community and across the state, especially at the community college level.

“Members of the community and campus will be proud of these tree programming initiatives that the college pursues,” he said.

BC recently completed a wellness path around campus where students, teachers and other members of the campus community can walk or jog, Rodriguez said. He said the trail will help showcase BC’s growing campus forest.

The newest trees in the arboretum, sponsored by the Virginia and Alfred Harrell Foundation, should develop decent shade canopies within five to 10 years, Iger said.

“With good care, they should live happily on campus for 50 to 100 years,” she said. “It will take some time to reach a large, shady size, but there will be trees for thousands of people to enjoy for generations.”

Don Woodard, a county landscape architect for Kern’s Park Department, often volunteers his time and expertise at the Tree Foundation, and Saturday was no exception.

“There were a lot of people who appeared on Saturday morning, and in two hours we planted 50 trees,” Woodard said.

Arboretum is a resource and educational space for students and the general public to see and study many species of trees in one place.

“People – especially students – get a chance to see the trees as they grow and understand their individual characteristics and features,” Woodard said.

It was great to see so many people on Saturday willing to lend a hand to create something that would last for generations, Woodard said.

People can tell I planted that tree, he said.

Someone might say, “My grandmother planted this tree.”

Reporter Steven Meyer can be contacted at 661-395-7353. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: semayerTBC.

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