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Loyola’s arboretum receives recognition for largest trees in city and state

volunteers standing by Loyola's American Larch tree

After an examination by the Maryland Big Tree Program and the Baltimore City Forest Conservancy District Board, Loyola’s arboretum was found to have nine Champion Trees. Champion trees are among the largest of their species.

Loyola’s arboretum includes four city champions (European Larch, European Beech, Northern Catalpa, and Common Persimmon), three co-city champions (Atlas Cedar, and two species of Eastern Hemlock), and two state co-champions (two species of Port Orford Cedar).

Champion trees are designated by American Forests through a competition to find and preserve the largest tree species in 1940 and that tradition lives on today. The goal of the Maryland Big Tree Program and the Baltimore City Forest Conservancy District Board is to find both America’s and Maryland’s largest trees to protect and preserve them for future generations.

Loyola’s arboretum is an accredited arboretum on the Evergreen Campus dedicated to teaching, public education, and the enjoyment of the campus community. It boasts an inventory of more than 2,200 trees on both the Academic Quadrangle and the Fitness & Aquatic Center (FAC), representing 110 varieties of trees.

“Each of the trees of Loyola has a story to tell,” said Taylor Casalena, sustainability program manager at Loyola. “We look forward to highlighting the grander of these Champion Trees to continue to inspire tree preservation and environmental stewardship on the Evergreen Campus and in Baltimore City.”

The campus arboretum keeps several goals in mind, which ultimately led to multiple Champion Tree titles—to preserve the beauty of the campus landscape while enhancing biodiversity and promoting sustainability; protect the stately historic campus trees; build upon the collection with native species to reinforce the character of both artificial and natural environments on campus; and maintain and develop a diverse collection of plants for teaching purposes, public education, and the enjoyment of the campus community.

Loyola students created interactive audio walking tours of the arboretum so that all can enjoy the various tree species on campus. Anyone can download the izi.Travel App to access Loyola’s arboretum tours and follow the path or walk up to any tree to hear its history. There are audio tours for both trees on the Quad and at the FAC.

“We are very thankful for the volunteers at the City Forestry Board who identify, measure, and nominate Champion Trees to the Maryland Big Tree Program,” said Casalena.

In honor of Earth Day, the Loyola arboretum is hosting an event to celebrate the trees of Loyola on Friday, April 23, from 3-5 p.m. Members of the Loyola community who are in the COVID-19 surveillance testing pool are invited to the FAC to meet some of the largest trees on campus, explore the self-guided literary-inspired tree tour, and help plant native flowers.