Have you ever looked at a tree on the
IUP campus and wondered what species it was? Thanks to a new virtual tour on the university’s website, you can have a lot of those questions answered.
The Allegheny Arboretum
Tour is now live on the IUP Interactive Map, allowing viewers to learn about 25 of the more than 100 varieties of trees on the 354-acre university campus. Organized by retired biology professor Jerry Pickering and current biology faculty member Mike
Tyree, the tour stretches across campus and gives information that lends an understanding of the importance of trees to the natural beauty of the IUP campus.
“The campus,” Tyree said, “is considered a living museum for trees.”
Each stop on the tour is placed exactly by using GPS coordinates. Photos of all the trees are included, giving the viewer an idea of the tree’s exact location.
The virtual tour is part of a larger one that was recently printed as a guide to the 104 species of trees on campus. Pickering created the original walking tour of the arboretum in the early 2000s, but he said a new one needed to be done because the campus
had changed so much.
“At least a third of the trees listed back then are gone,” he said, “and another third have been added.”
Among the highlights on the tour is a huge White Oak in the heart of the campus, in the Oak Grove, that could potentially be as old as the university itself, which dates to 1875.
There’s also a Dawn Redwood near Breezedale whose species has an interesting history. It originally grew in this area, but it was wiped out by glaciers in the Ice Age. But the species—Metasequoia glyptostroboides—was discovered growing in China
some time ago, and it has since been reintroduced to North America.
“It was thought to be extinct,” Pickering said. “It was from the age of dinosaurs.”
There’s also a Maidenhair Tree, which is more commonly known by its species, the Ginkgo
biloba, in front of Sprowls Hall.
“It’s a living fossil,” Tyree said.
Pickering said the number of stops on the virtual tour could be increased over time, giving an even better glimpse of the kind of trees on campus.
“We’re always interested in that,” he said. “As new species come, we would like to add them to the collection. This is to showcase the university and the community the different types of trees that can grow in western Pennsylvania.”
“Not all of them are native trees,” Tyree said, “but it’s a nice representation of the trees that can live in our area.”
To take the tour, either use the link above or go to map.iup.edu, click on the “tours” tab, and select the Allegheny Arboretum Tour.