Why You Can’t Hammock on Campus: An Exhibit

Written by Haley Zerobnick, ESLLC 2017-2018


The University of Denver is home to one of the most impressive arboretums in Colorado. What is an arboretum? In essence, an arboretum is a botanical garden of trees, so called a “living collection”. DU’s arboretum features over 2,000 trees with more than 290 different species. It was implemented on Arbor Day in 1999 by Chancellor Ritchie and was named after a previous chancellor, Chester M. Alter. Chancellor Alter served at DU from 1953 to 1967 and during his time at DU, worked to expand the campus nearly 50 acres. He was a scientist and was known to love trees which is why the arboretum was dedicated to him. Alter passed away in 2006 and it is great that we get to honor his legacy daily with the expansions he created as well as the arboretum.

All of the trees in the collection feature labels that inform the viewer of the common name of the tree, the scientific name, and what country the specific tree is native to. While it is widely agreed upon that the trees make the campus much more inviting and scenic, some students have been unhappy upon hearing the news that they cannot strap hammocks to the trees due to the arboretum. These trees are used for scientific research and development and to limit the damage, the university asks that hammocks are not used on campus.

Our exhibit seeks to educate students, faculty, and staff about the arboretum, as many Picture1.pngpeople do not even know it exists. The main part of our exhibit will be a map of the campus with the location of the arboretum trees marked, found on the arboretum website. On the map we will highlight the location of some of the campus’s “champion trees”. These are trees that have grown to be some of the largest of their kind in Colorado. We had hoped to have seed samples and leaf presses but, seeing as it’s early spring in Colorado, we could not predict when the trees would blossom. Instead, two talented artists, Raegan Hasselbring and Jack Oberg, have taken it upon themselves to draw some of the champion trees we wish to highlight. We hope our exhibit brings a newfound appreciation of the trees on campus.

Check out the DU arboretum website: https://www.du.edu/arboretum/

The pictures I have included were taken by me as well as Halle Brown, ESLLC 2017-2018


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