Volunteers plant 200 trees on MUM campus in 2016
Over 40 volunteers showed up late last month for a day of planting trees west of the women’s dome on the Maharishi University of Management campus, with 79 additional trees being planted thanks to a $5,000 grant from Alliant Energy; guidance by representatives from Trees Forever; and organizing by the Green Iowa AmeriCorps volunteers being hosted on campus.
“It was absolutely successful,” said Lacie Teal, an AmeriCorps volunteer. “We had an amazing turnout. A lot of M.U.M. students showed up, including students in the computer professionals program.”
The varieties of trees planted included oak, linden, locust, catalpa, birch, lilacs, tulip trees, and redbud. Previously 40 fruit trees and 90 other trees had been planted, bringing the total to over 200 planted in the last year.
Teal said that a number of the trees last month were planted near trees that were already there because the latter are ash trees expected to succumb to the rampant emerald ash borer.
The tree planting is just one facet of a major focus on upgrading campus grounds. A landscaping committee has been formed to identify needs, set priorities, raise funds, and help organize improvements.
This fall, M.U.M. trustee Toby Lieb has spearheaded a major initiative to improve the arched bridge area as well as the immediate environment surrounding the walkway that crosses Crow Creek.
Extensive brush was removed, the creek was cleared of wood debris, trees were planted, and landscaping was done alongside the arched bridge, including perennials and bushes.
Similarly, landscaping was also done around the bridge east of the Argiro Student Center.
The dilapidated Japanese-style footbridge in the low-lying area near Crow Creek also is being restored. It originally spanned one of the three ponds that covered that area of campus in the past.
The weathered posts and railings have been replaced with new ones, and the cast bronze globes that had decorated the bridge will be returned. In addition, solar lighting is being added.
Other campus improvements for pedestrians include the closing of Raines Road, which connects the Highrise residence halls with the Argiro Student Center, and closing Swan Road, a gravel road that runs parallel to Crow Creek.
“So many students use Raines Road as a sidewalk that there were legitimate concerns for their safety,” said Tom Brooks, vice president of operations.
Swan was closed because it intersects with Raines Road and because of dust issues.
“Also, the closing of Swan Road created a nice safe walking space in the middle of campus,” Brooks said.
Many more improvements are being planned, and another grant is being prepared for planting trees in the spring of 2017.
Used with permission from The Review, Maharishi University of Management’s electronic newsletter.