Speaking for the trees

Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex facade with trees

The exterior wall of the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex was designed to accommodate the live oak trees that grow along the building site.

For the 12th year in a row, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized Tulane’s commitment to maintaining its collection of live oaks and other trees by naming it an official Tree Campus USA. The program, established in 2008, honors colleges and universities for effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

Tulane’s uptown campus boasts more than 400 trees in all, including live oaks, crepe myrtles, bald cypress trees and other species that have been a part of university life since Tulane moved to its uptown location in 1894. All are regularly monitored, surveyed and cared for by several partners within the Tulane community including the University Planning Office, Capital Projects and Facilities Services.

The university’s devotion to maintaining its trees is so great that when an expansion to the A. B. Freeman School of Business was being planned, the architects incorporated the live oaks that lined the building site into the design rather than consider removing them. The result was the Goldring/Woldenberg Business Complex’s iconic wall of waving glass, which curves along the dripline of the trees.

“When the business school was renovated, it was all about maintaining those live oaks down McAlister Place,” says Amber Beezley, director of feasibility, planning and programming at Tulane. “We developed a tree policy many years ago that protects our trees on campus from contractors when we’re doing large projects. We have so many trees that we’re running out of space to plant based on the underground infrastructure but typically each project either replaces trees or adds more trees with the campus landscape architect.”

“I just can’t imagine the campus without these 100-year-old live oak trees and some of them are most likely older than that,” says Bill Mizell, landscape architect at Tulane. “I think that’s one of the first things that people notice when they come to campus, so it’s an honor to be recognized by the Arbor Foundation for the work that we’ve done to make sure that the trees on our campus are properly cared for and thriving.”

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