I CANNOT BELIEVE DICKINSON IS CUTTING DOWN TREES. ESPECIALLY 15 OF THEM! It’s always a sad day to see a tree cut down, but I can’t defend all trees. Similiar to the Lorax, I will fail. With that in mind, I am choosing one tree to protect and that is my hop hornbeam. My tree might not be the prettiest tree in Morgan Field, but trust me Dickinson needs it. It grows on a rocky hill, which the other trees will not be able to do. There is no replacing my tree and if it gets cut down there will just be an empty space.
It also backs up Dickinson’s messages. It needs minimal water and similar to the Dickinson community it tries to conserve water. A tree that provides oxygen for us to breath and takes little water to do so is exactly the type of tree we want! Not only does it save water, but my tree has both male and female leaves of different colors. She supports all genders, races, and ethnic groups. Isabel is the kindest tree in the quad and she needs to stay alive to spread her joyful spirit.
My tree also has sac like pods that resemble hops. So though she supports drinking alcohol, which college students enjoy, she is not a huge drinker. It’s almost as if she is teaching the world that a drink every once in a while is not the worst idea, but don’t over do it.
I will admit, I have been selfish this semester. I have not shared the nice rock that rests under Isabel. If Dickinson saves her, I promise that I will let other students enjoy the nice shade and quiet area that she gives to us.
If Isabel dies I will be extremely sad and there will be an empty space in Morgan Field that cannot be filled.
Leaves have started to fall
Nice Autumn Day
“Come, Boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.” The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.
Over the course of the semester my tree has provided me with a spot to sit under and chill. There is a rock that lies right behind my tree and when Isabel has all of her leaves, the rock is protected from the sun. It has been a spot for me to relax and unwind. The tree also gives me hope. Thinking about the Hophornbeam and how they survive is amazing. They can live in arid climates on rocky hills. Unlike many other trees, mine is unselfish and takes whatever she can get. She is not the most beautiful but still thrives. She has taught me that no matter how hard life gets, one should persevere through their problems and always stay optimistic.
More importantly, Isabel has provided a lot to the local community. Morgan Field is know for it’s beauty and Isabel stands tall with her brothers and sisters making the quad gorgeous. Morgan Field is as much as a “College campus” as you are going to get, which attracts perspective students. Also, squirrels and birds love my tree. Throughout the semester I have seen multiple animals perch on Isabel’s branches and relax. It’s not quite supported enough for a bird to nest, but they still hang out on my tree and protect themselves from the sun’s ray’s.
Lastly my tree gives the world oxygen which is fundamental to all life. It takes in CO2 emitted by us humans and mammals and releases oxygen. It is trying it’s best to stop global warming yet so many of her relatives have been cut down that it is hard for her. The use-value of my tree extends from me as an individual all the way to whole world.
Similar to the giving tree, it gives me a spot to rest all the way to oxygen for us to breath!
Two paradigms, “HEP” and “NEP”, were founded and discussed by environmental sociology specialists, Catton and Dunlap. HEP stands for “Human Exceptionalism Paradigm”, which basically means that the environment should revolve around humans; humans are superior. The opposite of HEP is the “New Ecological Paradigm”, which means humans are dependent of their surroundings and both them and the environment are equal. After spending close to a semester observing and getting to know my tree, I believe NEP is more relevant to this world.
Earth and the environment have been around for approximately 4.5 billion years, and modern humans (homo sapiens ) have been around a mere 100,000 years. Though we have only occupied Earth for a small part of it’s history, we are already making a huge impact. We are cutting down millions of trees, consuming a huge amount of fresh water daily, and warming the planet at an exponential rate that does not follow typical pattern. We rely on the environment to survive and need to co-exist with it in order to have a future.
My tree stands alone in the quad and is never harmed by students. It takes in the CO2 released by us humans in Morgan Field, and releases oxygen for us to inhale. We need my beautiful tree to survive.
Not only does my tree and our environment provide us with necessities crucial to survival, but it also is beautiful to look at. The green grass, rocky cliffs, and elegant trees in Morgan Field make the quad look astonishing. If it were just concrete pavement or numerous dormitories it would look overcrowded and ugly. HEP is a theory of the past because we have already taken the environment for granted to such an extent that we are hurting our planet, killing ourselves, and destroying the beauty of mother nature! My mother used to tell me, “The most beautiful art in the world, comes from nature”. We need to follow the paradigm NEP and focus on creating a better planet for the future. We can do so by consuming less and creating a sustainable lifestyle for ourselves.
Unlike the first two field notes, it was a wet and chilly november day. It was almost cold enough to snow, yet tiny rain drops were falling from the sky onto Morgan Field. The sky was a depressing grey and as it approached night time, it only got gloomier. My tree looked sad both far away and up close. Her leaves were pretty much gone and for those that were still hanging on, were brown and shriveled. I began to realize how skinny her branches were and couldn’t believe how she survived windy nights and snowy winters.
I stood next to her with an ice cream cone in my hand, which was a mistake due to how cold it was outside. After five minutes I felt like leaving and would of done so if it hadn’t stopped raining. As the wind picked up a bit, I observed a couple leaves fall off the tree. The first one was hanging by a thread and fell gently to the ground. The next leaf was higher up and fell onto a pile below, until the wind brushed it off onto her trunk. I went to pick it up and it had two small holes through the center. I felt as if I should of just ripped off what pathetic leaves my tree had left. They were all dead and were just waiting to fall. I ripped a few off gently and then realized that I was tearing leaves off of a tree, when I was supposed to be observing it for an environmental class. Not so smart!
A squirrel came into my sight and headed for my tree. I was surprised that the little dude picked my ironwood to climb, but he did. He ran fast up the trunk and perched up on one of the branches. He glared at me for a solid 3 seconds and then turn his head a bit, staring out towards the cars in the distance. I tried not to scare him and knew any movement would of probably edged him somewhere else. Eventually a sound in the distance cued his departure and he ran off into the center of Morgan Field. I looked around and noticed how green some of the other trees were. The diversity of trees within the quad is astonishing, each unique in their own way. It made me have some respect for my tree, because even if she is smaller and less elegant then some of the others, she still is strong in her own way!
After my first day of field notes, I was pretty excited to get back to my tree and just chill for a half hour. I had a stressful week with soccer, numerous exams, and a drive to Philadelphia to pick my girlfriend up at the airport.
It was early november. Isa (my girlfriend) and I walked out of my dorm and immediately were hit by the gleaming sun. It was fairly warm and everyone I saw were wearing t-shirts and pants. On the walk over to my tree I noticed one student with no shirt or shoes on casually walking into the library. As I stepped onto Morgan field, I saw my beautiful tree in the distance. Though most leaves still hung on the tree, there were many that were scattered on the ground. Isa and I sat under my tree and I immediately realized my tree was extremely hot to touch. I think that she had a fever but it also could of been the sun shining on the trunk for the whole day. The leaves were not doing a great job of protecting her.
I observed a couple of students throwing a frisbee for a few minutes. To be honest they were not very good. The frisbee hit the ground 7 times and every time it fell it rolled on its side until gravity and friction brought it to a stop. On the other side of Morgan two of my friends were skateboarding on the hard path. Though i wanted to join them, I was content with leaning on my tree and talking to my girlfriend about what we wanted to eat for dinner.
The sky was the best part of my day. Though my sight was slightly visioned by my trees elegant leaves and branches, the open blue made a perfect background. I counted three small puffy clouds in the sky, each shaped very different from each other. The sun was in the center of it all and warmed Carlisle when it should of been colder. Isa and I started to throw my trees leaves up in the air and though they flew up fast, they glided down very slowly (similar to the frisbee). All in all, it was a great day and my tree could not of been a better place to sit under.
Leaves have started to fall
It is a warm autumn day and the sun is glaring down at my tree. The clouds look like bubbles in the sky and I argue that it is one of the more beautiful days in Carlisle this year. I perch my skateboard up against the tree as I sit two feet away where the not so green grass meets the not so brown dirt. There is minimal wind and everything in Morgan Field seems calm.
I look up at my tree and notice the leaves. Unlike some other trees, the leaves have not begun to fall, but looks as though it is time. The color of it’s smaller leaves are turning yellow, especially at the top. The leaves are still very smooth and it’s green leaves still contain some moisture within them. The Hophornbeam is known for conserving water which is why Isabel’s leaves are still colorful rather then shriveling up like her neighbors.
I stand up and walk towards my skateboard. I notice that the bark varies along the trunk. It is as if someone has been peeling Isabel’s bark off. Isabel has brown patches along her body and yellow patches where bark has peeled off. The brown is only the outer layer and her trunk still remains strong yet slim.
I see one of my friends in the distance walking his dog. His family is in town and brought the new puppy along with it. They come over to me and the dog’s tail is profusely rocking back and forth as I pet his stomach. His yellow fur hangs off his body similar to Isabel’s leaves but he is soft so I focus on the puppy for a couple minutes. My friends leave and I jokingly apologize to Isabel. I look at my watch and realize that I am late for Econ class. I pick up my skateboard and roll away on the leaf covered sidewalk.
“Skkkuuuurrrtttt”, a car comes to an abrupt stop on High Street. Sitting next to my tree, I am trying to observe the sounds around me. For the most part, man made sounds drown out the noise of the nature. I hear footsteps walking along the path behind me, longboard wheels rolling on the sidewalk, and a truck engine roaring in the background. I have become accustomed to these modern world sounds, but observing these sounds annoy me. I keep catching breaks every now and then and can hear squirrels hop around the tree above me. I am sitting under their home. I try to imagine if someone was sitting outside my home and resting against my house.
Suddenly I hear music blast from a dorm in Morgan Hall. The window opens and the music gets louder. My friend Jake pokes his head out the window and yells, “Bailey, what are you doing.” We converse back and forth to one another until he finally puts his head back into his room. Unfortunately he leaves the window open and the music is still blaring from his room. I try to focus on the sounds of nature. I begin to hear the wind blowing the leaves of my tree. Isabel’s branches are swaying back and forth but her trunk stays strong. The leaves hang low and rustle right above my head. It makes me feel welcomed, as if Isabel was letting me sit beneath her. One leaf drops right next to my head. As it hits the ground softly, I hear nothing. It’s cool to think about how light one leaf weighs, and I pick it up to examine the texture and color. The light green leaf is small and smooth. When I squeeze it, it balls up and doesn’t make the crouching sound that autumn leaves usually make. My tree is unique in every way, and I like it.
Finally a bird comes and perches up on top of my tree. His high pitched chirp makes me laugh. Flap, flap, flap and he’s gone. After observing the sounds, I am disappointed at how the man made noise interfered with nature
I was not feeling well on a saturday morning. I woke up with a slight fever and a stuffy nose. I took a couple of Advil, drank water, and hibernated in my room for the following 5 hours. I decided I needed to get some fresh air, so I walked to Morgan Field and sat under my tree. The grass was sharp so I had to shift positions a couple of times to get comfortable. Morgan Field was surprisingly vacant for a saturday afternoon. There were a couple of kids seated in the red lawn chairs, talking about their “crazy” friday night. I eavesdropped on their conversation for a couple of minutes but soon realized that it was pointless and plugged my headphones in to the new drake album.
I notice my tree is isolated from the other trees and is off to the side in a unnoticeable location. In fact most trees in the yard have at least 10 yards between itself and another tree. The grass has just been cut and I see at least 10 squirrels running, climbing or just sitting as I am. One of them gets extremely close to me and I try to stay still. Still sick, I sneeze and the squirrel quickly jumps away. The Carlisle air does not smell all to good on this day. I had forgotten that breathing in the polluted valley’s air probably makes me feel worse. I do not know what I would compare the scent too because it is extremely unique. I focus my attention somewhere else and start to count the leaves on the ground. “10 – 20 – 30 – 40 – 50 -51 -52… okay why am I counting leaves” I think to myself.
I see one of my friends in the distance walking towards me and I take out my headphones. Within the 30 seconds it takes for him to get to where I am and give me a high five, I finally other sounds besides Drake’s new album. Birds chirping, car engines, kids talking, wind blowing, and a door slamming in the distance. I wished at that moment that my tree were somewhere else. Somewhere in complete isolation from man made noise. But my wish doesn’t come true and I am still sitting in the quad. My friend comes up to me and asks how my night was. I gave him a brief explanation that I had been sick and watched Netflix for 5 hours. He laughs, regrets touching my germ infested hand, and then says goodbye. After he leaves, I plug my headphones back in and close my eyes.
I sat still for another 10 minutes taking in the warm autumn day, just letting the breeze brush my face. Finally I realize that it is getting dark and stand up slowly. I take a photo of myself with my tree and walk away.
15 years ago, something special happened. It was a warm day in May, not a cloud in the sky. It was no ordinary day for the Dickinson arborist. He didn’t realize it at the time, but he had just planted what was going to be one of the most beautiful trees on campus. Though a slow grower, by age one, she was already a proud 2 feet tall. She struggled early on because she was an only child. She has never met her parents and was left alone to fend for herself. But this only made her stronger. Large winds came and went and molded her into a character. Though she sometimes swayed back and forth, my tree always managed to straighten herself out when she needed to. By the age of 10, she had already grown about 12 feet. She had made friends with other orphans that had been planted under her. She was like a mother to these young plants and often gave up water in order to feed them. I think the fact that she does not need much water to live tells us a lot about her personality.
November 2012 was a rough time for my tree. Struck hard by Hurricane Sandy many of her friends died due to the wretched winds. She herself almost collapsed but her roots dug in deep and her trunk held strong. This was a turning point in her life. Surviving Sandy was a sign that she was destined to be great! By 2015 she was a shocking 7 meters tall. She was lonely though. When I met Isabel (my tree) she was working hard to get her life back together.
I realized I had to spend time with her and help her achieve greatness. Everyday since I have met her, I see her mentally growing. The dirt under her is starting to mold to the shape of my butt, because she does often give me shade, similar to the Giving Tree.
It was a gorgeous fall day when I met my tree. I was carrying my sandals in my hand and walking on the soft Morgan Field grass. Mark Scott, the Dickinson College arborist, offered a number of trees up to us. I will not lie, I was aiming for a larger and more elegant tree, but when Scott showed the Hophornbeam, I was drawn. First of all, the name caught my attention immediately. Hophornbeam, also know as the Ironwood, is a species of Ostrya native mainly located on the east coast of North America. My tree is pitched off to the side of Morgan Hall and is surrounded by flowers and brush. It sits on a patch of dirt on a small hill because Ironwoods often grow on rocky slopes in dry soil. My tree, yet not the tallest of the bunch, can handle drought well. Hophornbeams contain a grayish brown bark that is rough to the touch. It is a has a very sturdy branch but is extremely thin. It stands tall but often sways in the wood. As Aldo Leopald observes a similar tree in the wind, “A tree tries to argue , bare limbs waving, but there is no detaining the wind” (Page 66).
Ironwoods can grow up to 18 meters. My specific ironwood is not fully grown but stands proud at around 7 meters. My favorite part of the tree are the gorgeous flowers that bloom off the leaves. The flowers are either light green or a faded red color. My tree has primarily female flowers hanging off of it. Though deer are not drawn to the quads, if my tree were located in a more rural environment, deer would eat it’s drooping flowers. Her leaves are already starting to turn yellow because they drop earlier then the rest of the bunch.
I cannot wait for the first snow fall when I can see my tree, bare, with white powder on it.