For a relatively compact campus, UMKC has a lot of trees: about 1,600, give or take an oak or two. Steve Jenks is about to get intimately familiar with every one of them.
Jenks will work with a local forestry company to inventory UMKC’s trees and create schematic drawings of the layers beneath them. Jenks, UMKC’s landscape supervisor, says this inventory will help manage UMKC’s pastoral grounds more effectively.
“We need to know where such things as steam lines, sprinklers and electrical bundles are. If there are things below ground that are susceptible to damage, we want to avoid planting on top of them,” Jenks said. “We take good care of our greenscape, and we pay attention to the Conservation Department’s recommendations about using a variety of tree types and balancing our tree population by age.”
The project will take from mid-March to May 1, and is paid for with a T.R.I.M. (Tree Resource Improvement and Maintenance) Grant from the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Tree consultants will start with a satellite view of the campus, then walk the grounds to take a physical “look” and give each tree a hazard rating from 7 to 12. Assessment takes into account age, damage or disease that may be evident.
UMKC also makes other good environmental decisions about its natural resources. When trees have to be removed, they are recycled into products like mulch. Not long ago, Molly Davies, Associate Professor of Geosciences and Director of UMKC’s Environmental Studies Program, lined up students to plant some of the trees given to UMKC by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Jenks estimates that the trees on campus now range from brand new to 100 years old; and given the ongoing drought conditions, they’re all thirsty. This study will help him identify what kind of TLC they need to keep the campus shaded and verdant well into the next century.