beware: bark bandits!

Discussion in 'Woody Plants' started by Dixie, Oct 10, 2006.

  1. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    I am the Arboretum Coordinator for the University of Arkansas Fort Smith. A ton of our local schools are conducting leaf collection projects. With over 1100 trees, 63 of which are identified with staked plaques next to the tree, we are the ideal location for the students to come out and collect leaves. We welcome them as our purpose is educational. We do have what we call "Arboretum Etiquette" and expect these rules to be respected. When collecting leaves we ask that they take as few leaves as possible and leave the smaller trees alone, hence a sign on a stake by the tree stating "Please do not collect my leaves, I am much too small and fragile". We have had all positives to say about leaf collecting time except for this year. I received word from a parent that she was out with her daughter over the weekend an saw another parent with a pocket knife cutting into the trees and thought we should know about it. After extensive research to find out why I discovered that a local high school SCIENCE TEACHER is asking the students to turn in BARK samples for bonus points! Out of our 63 identified trees, 23 of them (all around 3" caliper) have chunks of bark removed! I have since then spoken with these SCIENCE TEACHERS that this in NOT okay. What if every student decided to take bark samples, there would be nothing left of these trees. I just had to vent and let you all know incase some of you are in a position such as mine. I have spent all last week getting letters out to over 45 area schools stating our "leaf collecting rules". Here is a picture of our Ginkgo biloba 'Autumn Gold' that was planted last fall. This is what all 23 trees look like :(
     

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  2. globalist1789

    globalist1789 Active Member

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    Is there a representitive of the arboretum that meets the kids and sets out the rules? It is a lot easier to take bark off a small tree too. Who is going to want to hack a hunk out of a tree that is 4 feet across when they can just slice it off of the baby trees. I think that the partents that went along with this "project"would learn a bit taking the class themselves!

    M.
     
  3. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    *wince* Ouch.
     
  4. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    I agree. It is time, too late to rewind what has already happened, to organize a plan. It would be neat to have a "Leaf Collecting" day where myself and several of our grounds crew is here for a day to help and advise the students.
     
  5. ginkgo nut

    ginkgo nut Member

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    Oh, the pain, the pain...
     
  6. KarinL

    KarinL Well-Known Member 10 Years

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    Have these trees survived?
     
  7. Dixie

    Dixie Active Member

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    thankfully yes. i actually looked at the ginkgo today and it is beginning to callous over, so that is good. i had an educational talk with the teachers that required this. so far, no more bark bandits. on our website we posted "Attention Leaf Collection Participants" to let them know about our "Arboretum Etiquette".
     

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