Arboretum and Public Garden interns working with City of Davis to create informational tree tags
During the week of May 21, the informational tags attached to the trees that line the Arboretum and Public Garden will also appear downtown. Led by the Arboretum museum education interns, the project is a collaboration between the UC Davis Arboretum and the City of Davis Tree Commission.
The tree tags are attached with a string to the trunk of each tree at eye level. Each tree tag features informational messages about the tree. Some of the tags feature specific facts about the tree, such as the number of Picnic Days and Whole Earth Festivals the tree has lived through. Other tags feature general facts about trees.
For Mia Groff, an Arboretum museum education intern, one of the more impactful tags is one that assigns value to the trees.
“The most important [type of tag] for us and the Tree Commission was the ‘This tree gives back’ [tag],” Groff said. “It’s like an appraisal process for a tree. You can appraise a tree just like you do a house, so can see just how much [carbon dioxide] it reduces and the energy saved per tree.”
The inspiration for the tree tag project was from a similar project done at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Ill. According to Maya Makker, the Arboretum and Public Garden museum education and interpretive manager, one of the members of the City’s Tree Commission was at the Morton Arboretum when they observed the tags that were attached to some of the trees.
“[The tags] are kinda getting people to think about how trees can benefit our community and what they offer to people,” Makker said. “I think what we wanted to do is to draw attention to trees that people walk by every day, and [the trees] are just such a part of our landscape that you don’t even notice them and you don’t even think about what they’re doing for our community.”
The project for the campus tree tags began at the end of Winter Quarter, and the tags were hung up on campus trees the week before Picnic Day. When choosing trees, Makker explained that they looked for trees that have had important historical value or environmental impact.
“The idea was kind of to grab the attention of people who walk the Arboretum a lot,” Makker said. “There are people who walk the Arboretum every day so we thought, what a cool way to help them see what these trees are doing to the community, and these trees are such a [big] part of their daily routine.”
After creating a general route for the tree tags to follow, the museum education interns met with Melanie Gentles, a campus arborist, and Emily Griswold, the director of GATEways Horticulture, to help choose trees on the east end of the Arboretum.
The tags will be taken down around the week of May 21, when similar tags will appear across downtown, made by the Arboretum museum education interns. A route will be set up that extends from the east end of the Arboretum into downtown. While the interns considered other areas of the city to place the tree tags, the downtown area was selected due to its connection to the city and its historical context.
“We’ve started a draft as far as the content we’re going to include on the trees […] which will be similar to the trees we had in the Arboretum,” said Kaila Mattera, a museum education intern. “We’re working with [Stacy Parker, a GATEways Horticulturist], our connection to the city and hopefully city arborist and the City Tree Commission to be able to put the tags up.”
For the following two weeks, the tree tags will be strung onto the trees downtown featuring facts that Groff hopes will have a positive impact on the community.
“[These trees] have been here longer than our community, too,” Groff added. “We really want to highlight that— especially [in] downtown Davis […] That’s my main goal — to just have people recognize how many trees people have and the beauty that they hold, too.”
Written by: Hannan Waliullah — firstname.lastname@example.org