Kenyon’s Tree Program, which helps maintain the trees on campus, is budgeted for around $18,000 per year. Over the summer, the College spent $40,000 removing trees on campus.
Across campus, approximately 50 trees were felled this summer, most due to an invasive species known as the emerald ash borer.
“My understanding is that this is really a safety issue, because these trees are going to die, and they’re in the process of dying,” Assistant Professor of Biology Christopher Bickford said. “As a preemptive measure, the College and many folks in the surrounding community are removing the ash trees that are dying.”
Bickford studies the pileated woodpecker, which often makes its home in the ash trees historically found in central Ohio. But the borer has wrought havoc on these trees in recent years, prompting Kenyon to remove affected trees.
Combatting these borers with chemicals was a possibility, but since Kenyon had so many ash trees, this was not an economically sound choice, according to Grounds Manager Steven Vaden. There are also environmental concerns involved with using chemicals.
Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman said Kenyon will not plant any new trees during the fall semester aside from the new trees on the central section of Middle Path partly due to the College exceeding its budget and partly because there is a number of dead trees that still have to be removed. He said maintenance has planted 100 trees around campus over the last three years, not including trees replaced during the revitalization of Middle Path.
The College will focus on replacing the removed trees during the spring and summer of next year, according to Kohlman.
Erin Keleske ’18, co-president of Environmental Campus Organization, hopes the College will replace the felled trees with a variety of new ones.
“If we could replace them with a diverse range of species, it would be a healthier forest,” Keleske said.
Julia Waldow contributed reporting.