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Kansas Wesleyan University

Flowers have a language all their own, but if you really want to thank someone, plant a tree.

Kansas Wesleyan University planted three trees on campus in an Arbor Day celebration Friday, April 28.

One was a Jane Magnolia in honor of the two students who are KWU Tree Advisory Committee members. The students, seniors Joseph Salvatierra and Samuel Overbey, have been on the committee for three years and chose the species of tree, said John Swagerty, KWU director of plant operations.

The Jane Magnolia, donated by Landscape Consultants, is a later-blooming magnolia that will announce spring on campus with its large, reddish-purple flowers.

Overbey and Salvatierra, with help from friend Noah Gonazales, planted the magnolia in front of Shriwise Cafeteria, where students will be able to admire it for years.

The other two trees were a Sterling Silver linden, purchased by KWU, and an Oklahoma redbud donated by City of Salina Parks and Forestry.

The Sterling Silver Linden is an adaptable and pollinator-friendly shade tree planted near Pioneer Hall, the administrative building. An Oklahoma redbud is a tough and reliable small tree that blooms early and is also a great resource for pollinators. It was planted near the wishing well on campus.

Students, faculty and staff at KWU and City of Salina Parks and Forestry assisted with the 2023 planting ceremony.

With the plantings, KWU earned recognition as a Tree Campus by Tree Campus Higher Education, part of the National Arbor Day Foundation, for the fifth year in a row.

Kansas Wesleyan takes its trees seriously, said K-State Research and Extension Horticulture Agent Jason Graves, who also is a part of the KWU Tree Advisory Committee.

The committee, composed of students, community members and faculty, has been working over the past five years on a tree inventory to identify and tag more than 230 trees on campus.

A project to create an online arboretum map will begin in late 2023.

Graves said Arbor Day is a perfect time to promote tree planting and the benefits of trees in our city. Trees create biodiversity, provide countless ecosystem services, enhance property value, and improve quality of life and health. The city of Salina is also recognized as a long-time Tree City USA Community.