Friday, May 28, 2010

Reunions Coverage: Tree Tour

Jim Consolloy, the former University grounds manager, gave his 20th annual Reunions tree tour Friday afternoon. The tour highlighted some of the interesting stories about the many trees on campus. Firestone Plaza, for example, contains mostly native trees, such as white oak and elm. A large tulip poplar, or yellow poplar, in front of Prospect House had lightning protection installed (costing around $1,200) because it is so tall and vulnerable to lightning strikes. About "a dozen or two" trees on campus have lightning protection, Consolloy said.

One important tree is the redwood tree on the east side of the Princeton University Art Museum. That particular species of redwood was thought to be extinct until it was found in China in 1945 by American soldiers. The soldiers brought seedlings back with them to the United States, and Princeton was one of the institutions able to acquire the seedlings and plant them. The tree next to the art museum was planted in 1947 and grows about 5 feet per year.

The tour culminated in Prospect Garden, where there is a blue cedar tree native to the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. At the center of the garden, Consolloy showed off his final project as grounds manager. To be more sustainable, Consolloy had a water filter installed in the fountain plumbing system. Previously, the fountain had to be drained and cleaned twice a month.

Though Consolloy recently retired from the University and will be moving to the Midwest, he said he would be back next year to give another tree tour around campus.

photo: Jim Consolloy (l.) talks to an alumnus in Prospect Garden during his annual tree tour.

by Jacob Aronson