New tree placards installed in arboretum

82 new signs have been installed identifying trees on campus. Photo courtesy of DU Arboretum Flickr.

Facilities will finish installing new metal signs in front of a dozen trees within the Chester M. Alter Arboretum over the next two weeks to enhance the two existing tree walks, according to Arboretum Curator Francesca Aguirre-Wong.
“We decided to put these more official and more obvious signs up just to highlight [the trees], so people who are doing the tree walk guide are more aware of what they’re seeing,” said Aguirre-Wong. “Then also, to generally educate the public and the students, let people know what they’re looking at, just to let them know that we do have an arboretum and the collection that we take care of and archive.”

The new signs have been placed along the two tree walks that pass through the arboretum: the Harper Humanities Garden walk and the Colorado Champion and Notable Trees walk. The Harper Humanities Garden walk roughly spans the area from Cherrington Hall to the Joy Burns Center, while the Colorado Champion and Notable Trees walk extends from Cherrington Hall to the Leo Block Alumni Center.

Arborist Marc Hathaway said the 82 new signs have been installed in front of the trees to aid those who are participating in the tree walk tours.

“It was believed that this with the larger size would be easier for people to read walking by,” said Hathaway. “It didn’t completely improve it, but people that had difficulty walking on the grass, it allowed them to be able to see some of the signs on the trees from the walking tour.”

Hathaway said the switch to metal signs is a common standard for most arboretums. The plastic signs that had previously hung on the trees were subject to wear and tear, according to Hathaway.

“[The signs] got frequently vandalized because the squirrels chewed on them,” said Hathaway. “They were made of plastic, so the sun kind of degraded them and they’d break.”

Some of the new signs have QR codes on them to provide more information.

“If [the trees are]listed on the state champions list, they’ll have a QR code,” said Hathaway. “You can scan that and it’ll take you to our web page with a little bit more information. It’ll tell you its measurements and its rank on the state list and it’ll have a couple pictures.”

Only one sign has been put up per species of tree, even though there may be multiple trees surrounding it.

Campus Operations Director David Snyder said the new plaques help get the branding out for the university.

“The new plaques have the new logo on them,” said Snyder. “They’re a little bit pricier, but they look a lot crisper and cleaner.”

Hathaway says there have been various reactions to the new signs.

“Some people really like [the new signs],” said Hathaway. “There’s always been a mix of it; some people haven’t cared.”

Even though new signs are only being put on roughly 100 trees, Hathaway said every tree on campus is part of the arboretum.

Hathaway said the official tree walk maps were established before the presidential debate.

“We finally got a walking tour developed,” said Hathaway. “We’re really hoping to expand the website and everything more.”

For more information about the arboretum and tree walk guide, visit

Gigi Peccolo is a sophomore currently majoring in Journalism and minoring in Spanish. Before DU, she went to Douglas County High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, where she served as co-editor of her high school paper during her senior year. She also participated in and received her diploma from the International Baccalaureate Program.

Gigi has been part of the Clarion since the beginning of her freshman year and, in addition to being assistant news editor, she also loves to write about entertainment. Since the field of journalism is changing, she isn’t exactly sure what she wants to do for her career but knows it will involve a lot of writing. In her free time, which comes along very rarely, Gigi likes to read and draw. She’s looking forward to working with the Clarion this year and hopes to continue writing for it during the rest of her college career.

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