In 2009, the Institute for Sustainability initiated an extensive project: to quantify the carbon footprint of the CSUN campus. Part of the project included the mapping and identification of close to 4,000 trees in order to calculate their environmental benefits, which include offsetting carbon emissions in our atmosphere.
The tree mapping project, published as the CSUN Plant Atlas, was actually started in 1989 by Robert Gohstand, geography professor, but had not been updated since its inception. The passage of 20 years, and the destruction caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake and resulting major campus construction, prompted the Institute to update the atlas and make it available to CSUN students and the local community. To download the Map, click Campus Tree Map (Large File).
If you would like to spend more time among these giant natural carbon sequesters, and do good at the same time, then consider volunteering with TreePeople, a local non-profit. Volunteer opportunities range from taking care of tree saplings in the nursery to helping low-income communities plant fruit trees, or consider becoming a leader on some of TreePeople’s many projects. You will learn about tree care, water conservation, and the numerous benefits of planting more trees.
The trees you will experience on the CSUN campus are primarily ornamental and not native to this region. They are however, representative of trees commonly found in the California urban landscape and their presence on campus provides us an opportunity to explore a diversity of species in close proximity. The Institute for Sustainability, along with graduate students from the spring 2014 Biogeography seminar class, designed a booklet to feature some of these diverse trees. The Walking Guide to the Campus Trees publication is designed to lead the interested explorer on a series of short guided walks through the campus, discovering the abundance of trees it has to offer.
There are over 4000 trees of roughly 200 different species on the CSUN campus. 74 different species are highlighted in the tree walk guide. They are organized into 4 different walking routes that will lead the user on an educational discovery tour. For each tree species encountered, we provide a photographic inventory, the taxonomic description, country of origin, habitat distribution, water requirements, and ecological importance.
Each of the 4 walks have also been turned into smaller, one page brochures which can easily be used to tour the trees around campus. These brochures provide a picture and a few sentences about the trees. A link to the Walking Guide to the Campus Trees publication is provided on each brochure if you would like more information about a particular tree. A graphic in the corner of each species picture depicts the water requirements for that plant (low, medium or high). Therefore, these guides can also be used when planning for a drought friendly landscape. The walking routes are designed to engage the participant in learning about and appreciating the diversity of the tree community and its characteristics and to help people explore our beautiful campus!