For the love of trees …
Marion Harmon (Master of Public Administration, ’07)
It is a crisp fall day, the kind of day that makes you forget the hot Chico summer and eases you into the cold of winter. Students rush to class, community members wander through campus, a tour group follows professor emeritus Wes Dempsey (in photo right) through the campus arboretum.
I’m one of the tour group of 15 people. It feels like I’m part of an exclusive club privy to Wes’s vast storehouse of knowledge. In his lilting East Coast accent, he tells the tale of an old Southern magnolia or pine nut or Chico founder John Bidwell with so much enthusiasm and wonder that I would never guess he’s told it a thousand times before. His hands are forever in motion, picking up leaves and nuts and pointing out various features of the trees surrounding us.
According to repeat tour takers, Wes gives a different version of the tour each time. If you haven’t yet been on one of Wes’s tours, I encourage you to take one, or just meander through campus sometime, observing the majestic trees and abundant plant life that make our campus feel like home.
A map and guide to the university arboretum titled “Campus Trees” is available at the campus bookstore and at the Department of Biological Sciences office in Holt Hall. For tour information, call 530-898-6222.