Das Tor News

“T” for Trees and Thunderbird

By: Thaedra Brondrum, Guest Writer, and Alina Buzgar, News Editor

T-Birds get together and partner with administration to respond to the storm that hit our campus and destroyed many trees.

On Saturday September 27, 2014, the large micro storm that swept Phoenix, Arizona caused a lot of damage to the landscape of our school. Thunderbird lost 81 trees and 11 large cacti during the storm and an additional 44 trees had to be removed for security purposes. Quite a few of the trees lost during the storm were over seven decades old and many trees landed on and damaged vehicles, buildings, roadways, and power lines. The Monday after the storm many current T-birds joined facilities staff in the efforts to clean up the campus. Cleanup lasted for more than a week and contractors were engaged as well; it became clear that there is still work to do in the future, including replacing the trees and cacti that had been lost or removed because of too much damage. Here is the DasTor article written by Rick Beitman (MBA ’15, U.S.) in September 2014.

Courtesy of Bondrum
Courtesy of Bondrum

The current students, those that follow, and anyone who visits our campus should be able to experience a place that is full of life. The trees around campus provide so much to the school: shade, cooling, art, scenery, and life. Thaedra Brondum (MBA ’15, U.S.) wanted to contribute to the beauty of the Thunderbird campus and respond to the damages suffered. Her thoughts were with the current students as well as the company representatives, alumni, and perspective students that visit the campus. The first collection campaign took place at November’s Asia Regional Night and “Thunderbird Tree Project” was launched then as well. Students and alumni donated generously. The goal of the project is to raise $1,500 and partner with facilities to purchase a mature, native Arizona tree with delivery and planting included.

Most recent in the campaign for raising money were the Valentine’s Day cards. cards were available for purchase at $1.00 to students who could in turn give them to their friends or partners. The cards were delivered straight to campus mailboxes in time for Valentine’s Day. This campaign raised $138.00 bringing the total amount donated up to $528. It is nice to know so many on campus wished to spread smiles to fellow students and help keep the campus sustainable at the same time.

The trees that will be planted are native trees like the mesquite and palo verde:

Mesquite is an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant plant because it can draw water from the water table through its long taproot. It can also use water in the upper part of the ground, depending upon availability.  The tree’s flowers provide a nectar source for bees to produce mesquite honey with a very characteristic flavor. Mesquite trees grow quickly and furnish shade and wildlife habitat where other trees will not grow. Being a legume, it fixes nitrogen in the soil where it grows,improving soil fertility (Wikipedia).

Courtesy of IDT Landscaping
Courtesy of IDT Landscaping

Palo verde is a spiny, green, multi-trunked, deciduous tree that ranges between 20-40 feet in height. During the flowering season it is clothed with thousands of yellow blossoms attracting numerous pollinators. Foothill palo verdes often live for over 100 years and may reach 400 years. The trees can photosynthesize through their green bark, an important adaptation for a tree that drops its leaves during the warm season and in response to fall cooling (Desert USA).

The Thunderbird Tree Project is looking at having another fundraiser on campus soon so keep an eye out for updates. Anyone can donate any amount at any time through Paypal or by dropping money into the 2 collection buckets, one in the Commons and one with Sandra in the Herberger.  If you have any questions or would like to help in any way please reach out to Thaedra.

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