HC plants tribute tree by Fuhr Hall for Arbor Day observance

Hastings College celebrated Arbor Day on April 26 with the planting of a tribute tree for Elaine Warner Chard, a 1961 alumna and piano and
music major. 

Students, faculty and staff helped plant the Northern Red Oak on the southwestern side of the Fuhr Music hall, near Weyer Hall and the Hazelrigg Student Union. 

“This tree could be here for 200 years,” said Will Locke, ‘61 alum and HC Arboretum volunteer.

The tree is planted near the tribute tree of Jimmy King, professor emeritus and former academic advisor to Locke.

The tree planting ceremony started with a short description of Arbor Day and HC’s part in its history by Samantha Burke, junior, and a prayer from Reverend Damen Heitmann, HC chaplain. Arbor Day in America was started in Nebraska City, Nebraska,
in 1872.

“Arbor Day should be a state holiday in Nebraska,” Heitmann said.

HC has held Tree Campus USA status for the last five years. The status needs to be renewed every year. 

HC became recognized as a Tree Campus USA in the fall of 2015 when it created its Tree Committee and a campus tree plan. The tree planting last Friday will be used as part of its application to renew the Tree Campus USA status. One of the five standards for Tree Campus USA status is Arbor Day observance. 

Locke also said that HC has contributed more service learning hours than larger schools, specifically referencing Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. 

HC began its tradition of planting trees in 1883. During the groundbreaking of McCormick Hall, 200 trees were planted, according to Locke. The HC Arboretum was the city of Hastings’ first of
three arboretums.