News Releases

Team Tree-mendous completes a study of the benefits of trees on Lander's campus

December 17, 2014
 A trio of Lander University science students led by a faculty member, have completed a comprehensive study showing that the trees in the older historic section of the campus are responsible for remarkable ecological benefits. Team Tree-mendous, as they called themselves, conducted the semester-long project to raise awareness of the environmental impact of trees and possibly influence future campus landscaping plans.            

The team members are junior Abby Shealy, of Joanna, and senior Jamilah Nelson, of Abbeville, both environmental science majors; and Christine Beshay, of Greenville, a junior chemistry major. Ann Butler, lecturer of biology, was the team leader.

They conducted an inventory, identifying 170 trees in the historic area: 113 of the deciduous variety and 57 evergreens. They measured the diameter of each tree and fed that and other information into a National Tree Benefit Calculator to determine environmental benefits.

According to the calculator’s formula, on an annual basis, the 170 trees sequester nearly 79,000 pounds of carbon dioxide while returning oxygen to the atmosphere during photosynthesis and improving air quality. The trees also absorb 786,000 gallons of stormwater runoff, which helps improve water quality, and they are responsible for conserving 19,000 kilowatts an hour.

The energy conservation relates to shade trees that provide cooling in the summer and protection from strong winter winds, saving on air conditioning and heating costs.

Using the calculator, the research team also determined that the total value of the heritage section is $14,818 a year with a property value of $3,369.

Dr. Daniel Pardieck, associate professor of environmental geology and coordinator of Lander’s Environmental Science program, said the information gathered by Team Tree-mendous prove that trees are more than just nice to look at.

The next step in the project will be to raise the awareness of the ecological value of the heritage section trees using tree tags, posters and brochures and by conducting guided tours of the area in the spring of 2015.

Members of the team also said they hope to work with Lander’s Arboretum Committee with the goal of influencing the variety of trees that will be planted on campus, favoring those that are aesthetically pleasing and provide exponential ecological benefits.