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Arbor Day

Tree Tracking From Home

SCU celebrates Arbor Day twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. Check out Instagram or subscribe to our e-newsletter for dates! If you wish to do this activity asynchronously, please read the participant guidelines below prior to submitting your observations and let us know...we'd love to feature you on social media!

SCU has been a member of Tree Campus Higher Education for four years now (and we will be applying this fall for our fifth year of certification)! As a member campus, we host an Arbor Day celebration each year. This celebration is intended to educate our community about the importance of having a healthy urban forest and to appreciate all that our urban forests do for us. This year, SCU has gone virtual with our celebration by creating an event in which participants will gather and submit data about the trees around their homes or neighborhoods--such as the number of trees, whether there are native species nearby, and whether any animals inhabit the trees. Though we cannot come together to celebrate Arbor Day this year, we are excited to have this opportunity to develop a sense of SCU community from wherever we call "home" for this quarter, while continuing to uphold safe distancing practices and showing appreciation for the trees around us. To learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation, which maintains the Tree Campus Higher Education program, please click here. To learn more about SCU's commitment to our urban forest, please click here.

Participant Guidelines

Thank you for joining us for our Tree Tracking From Home event! In order to complete this activity, please read through the guidelines below, and feel free to email with any questions. 

This activity is expected to take approximately 15 to 20 minutes (you may complete the activity at any time throughout the day). Your observations will be submitted through this Google Form; we recommend that you look through the form before you begin the activity. We also invite you to watch this video (8 min) to see how virtual Tree Tracking works! You can also participate on Instagram; check out @sustainableSCU's Stories.

  1. Take a walk in your neighborhood or town for about 15-20 minutes or around 1 mile. Open up the Google Form (linked above) either before you start your walk or afterwards to track what you find and submit your observations.
    • NOTE: If you do not feel comfortable or safe leaving your home or going for a walk for any reason, please feel free to modify this activity to your comfort level. For example, you can count all of the trees that you see out of the windows of your home, or you can take a “walk” on a service such as Google Maps Street View.
  2. While you are walking, try to count as many trees around you as you can. Also try to take note of any animals or insects that you see on or near the trees that you pass.
  3. If you are able to, take photos of some of the trees so that you can identify them later (somewhere between 1 and 5 trees would be great). Try to look for species that are native to your location! To identify the tree species, you can use the following free apps and websites:
    1. PlantNet App
    2. iNaturalist App (requires an account)
    3. Seek App
    4. Go Botany Website
    5. Google Images Visual Search
  4. Pick one tree that you like to “adopt” it. Spend a few minutes taking a closer look at the tree you chose (this simulates our on-campus tree adoptions and our tree tracking process):
    • Try to identify the tree’s species
    • Look at what animals and/or insects are interacting with it (perching, eating, living, etc.)
    • Look at the overall balance of the tree (refer to photo in the Google Form)
    • Check to see if the bark and leaves seem healthy. Keep the season in mind - some trees might be naturally drying out and losing their leaves!
      • Please refer to this guide if you would like some help figuring out whether a tree seems healthy or not! 
    • Take a photo of the entire tree and upload it to the Google Form.
  5. Once you have finished making your observations and have submitted your Google Form, we invite you to fill out this form to receive your virtual Landscaping badge from the Center for Sustainability! Select the Badge-Earning Action that says “Participate in Tree Trackers, a tree monitoring event on campus (or virtually).” Click here to learn more about the badges and how you can earn all nine of them!

light green landscaping #sustainableSCU

Virtual Tree Tracker Activity