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Campus Arboretum Tours

A series of free tours to see the California State University, Chico and Bidwell Mansion State Park trees is available during the spring and fall semesters; dates will be posted in the University announcements. The easy and informative walks will start at 10 am in front of the Bidwell Mansion and last about one hour. Each tour will cover a different group of trees with as little repetition as possible. The walks are open to the public and are led by horticulturists and botanists from the University.

Highlights will be seeing a number of trees and shrubs planted by the Bidwells, some of which date to the building of the mansion in 1870. Bidwell notes in his diary of 1880 that he and Annie harvested their first crop of American Chestnuts along Sowilleno Avenue behind the mansion. A few of these remain and still produce ripe nuts.

Other Bidwell trees are the Tulip Tree, Turkey Oak, Monkeypuzzle Tree, Ginkgo, and Water Oak.

On campus around the administration building are a number of trees that date to the founding of the University in 1887. These include several London Planes and California Incense Cedars. Recent plantings include the Black Tupelo, or Sour Gum, from Southeastern United States, European Red Beech, and Red Horse Chestnut.

Along Chico Creek southeast of the Mansion is a planting of California native plants that include Toyon, Foothill Pine, Redbud, and Buckeye. Further along on campus are more recent plantings of California natives planted by the student Arboretum Club. A nature trail takes you through these on both sides of the creek with 16 numbered stops identifying such plants as Mugwort, California Chain Fern, White Alder and California Sycamore. A guide to the nature trail titled "Campus Creekside Nature Walk" is available at Bidwell Mansion, the Biology Office in Holt Hall, and the AS Bookstore. For $2.00 you may purchase a map of the tree locations called "Campus Trees."

In addition to telling facts about each tree, the leaders will be happy to answer questions about planting, care, pruning and problem-solving. For further information, call Durbin Sayers 530-898-3893 or Wes Dempsey at 530-342-2293.