Some 100 additional trees were recently planted by volunteers on the campus of Maharishi International University, thanks to a $10,000 grant from Alliant Energy. This is the third such grant from Alliant, bringing the total to approximately 240 new trees in the past two years.
In addition, wide-ranging plans for a more park-like campus landscape include cleaning up the creek area and planting fruit and nut trees.
The recent planting included white pines, London planetrees (a sycamore hybrid), and disease-resistant elms.
The new trees were planted around the Punj Tennis Center east of campus, as well as along the south side of Badgett Drive and along the south side of Zimmerman Boulevard.
“This will make a nice entry onto campus and will re-establish trees that have died,” said Tom Brooks, vice president of operations and author of the grant proposal.
Mr. Brooks said the tree project will continue into the future, with plans to do a planting of fruit trees and a planting of nut trees. While a location hasn’t been determined for the fruit trees, the nut trees may be planted in the very fertile low-lying field south of Badgett Drive near the intersection with B Street.
In addition, MIU Trustee Toby Lieb has been focusing on making the Crow Creek area in the center of campus more attractive and sustainable. She has had trees and shrubs planted, and staff member Dan Wasielewski has been removing dead trees.
Once the area has been cleaned up, Ms. Lieb will begin experimenting with willows and native grasses along the creek to protect against erosion and make the area more attractive.
After she has a sense for what works, she and others hope to come up with a comprehensive master plan for the former pond areas.
The tree planting was supervised by Trees Forever, which administers Alliant Energy’s Branching Out grants program.
Mr. Brooks said that many trees on campus have died as a result of old age, pests, and disease, and very few had been planted since the 1990s.
“Trees make a much nicer campus environment,” he said. “When you walk through campus, it’s more interesting and park-like. Plus, the trees provide shade in the summer and the pine trees help protect from the wind in the winter.”
Members of the MIU tree committee include Ken Daley, Mr. Wasielewski, Mr. Brooks, Dale Divoky, Alex Green, Chet Breed, Steve McLaskey, and Bob Koczela.
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