Penn. Campus


Spring 2017 Penn Landscape Celebration

April 6, 2017
UPenn Locust Walk

Spring 2017 Penn Landscape Celebration

This spring, the University’s Division of Facilities & Real Estate Services (FRES) is organizing a celebration of gardens and meadows, fields and walks, and trees and lawns that make up Penn’s urban campus.  The Office of the University Architect oversees the planning and design of Penn’s landscape features and, in collaboration with FRES Operations & Maintenance Department, manages the care of its green spaces. Their exemplary efforts have earned the University a number of awards including a Sustainable SITES Certification*, and for the 8th year in a row, recognition as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Now, for the first time, the campus in West Philadelphia has received official designation as an arboretum by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. This designation as the Arboretum at The University of Pennsylvania recognizes that collective efforts have achieved particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens.

Here is a list of all the News and Activities this spring that will recognize Penn’s Landscapes:






April 1-30

30x30 Challenge


The 30x30 Challenge, sponsored by the Penn Sustainability Office, is a campus-wide challenge to spend at least 30 minutes outdoors each day for all 30 days of April. 30x30 is open to all Penn Staff and Faculty and students, and runs from April 1st to April 30th.


Sign up at


Thursday, April 6

Penn West Philadelphia Campus Recognized as an Arboretum

The University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia is now officially recognized as an arboretum. Penn’s urban campus has achieved particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens, and therefore has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program.


Read press release on the FRES website.


April 8, 2017 and April 15, 2017

Morris Arboretum Cherry Blossom Festival

Experience the beauty of Morris Arboretum’s cherry tree collection in bloom. Both Saturdays will feature traditional Japanese cultural activities.


Visit the Morris Arboretum website.


Saturday, April 22


Earth Day

An annual event designed to demonstrate support for environmental protection.


Wednesday, April 26,
12 noon


30x30 Challenge Campus Ecology Tour


The tour will start in Shoemaker Green, in front of the Palestra.


Register to attend this tour.


April 28


Arbor Day

A holiday when individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees.


April 28

Penn is a Tree Campus USA for the 8th Year in a Row


Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.



April 28, 1:00pm

Campus Tour with the University Landscape Architect

As a public observance of Earth Day and Arbor Day, in combination with our 2017 Penn Tree Celebration, our University Landscape Architect Bob Lundgren and Landscape Planner Chloe Cerwinka will lead a tour of campus highlighting our most historic and interesting trees.


Register for the Tree Tour



May 2, 12pm to 3pm

Penn Park Orchard Continues to Grow

The Penn Park Orchard, established in fall 2014, is now more than 6,000 SF and includes 25 fruit trees, more than 65 edible shrubs, vines and berry bushes, along with thousands of perennials planted throughout. 


Help plant more perennial flowers, herbs, and groundcovers to complete the new food forest understory at the Penn Park Orchard. Organized in partnership with the Philadelphia Orchard Project.

 Volunteer Sign up


May 4, 2017

Creating Canopy program

To encourage the continual ‘greening’ of our communities in the Greater Philadelphia area, we are again this spring partnering with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation for the Creating Canopy tree giveaway.


University and UPHS employees can register for a tree starting on April 10 at




Appreciating Penn’s Cherry Trees

Led by Tony Aiello, Director of Horticulture and Curator at Morris Arboretum, a full identification and inventory will be taken of all the various cherry trees on Penn’s campus.


Aiello will use his extensive knowledge of flowering cherry trees to identify the exact cherry cultivars on the Penn campus, and continue to help Penn grow its flowering cherry tree collection, so that our cherry tree collection can become known for its cultural legacy, horticultural display, research and education.  


View a Photo Album with a sampling of Cherry Trees.


Online Activity


Tour Penn’s Class Trees

A Class Tree Tour has been added to the Penn Plant Explorer, an interactive website, linked to Penn’s comprehensive tree inventory (6,500+ trees), that allows users to map and interpret the significant trees, specialty gardens, urban parks, edible plants and seasonal interest throughout Penn’s campus.


Class trees have been planted since 2011, thanks to the sponsorship of Wharton alumnus Bill Hohns (W ’74).




Spring Tree Plantings

Each spring, FRES landscape architects collaborate with the Morris Arboretum to select a number of trees for planting on Penn’s West Philadelphia campus. Tree species are selected to ensure tree diversity and also to test how some trees fare in an urban environment. Among those planted will be the live oak trees that have been nurtured for a few years by the careful hands at Morris, introducing this species to the campus for the first time, as climate change pushes its planting zone further north.


In addition to those from Morris, spring 2017 will bring to campus an assortment of oaks (white oaks, chestnut oaks, post oaks), yellowwoods, sugar maples, American beech, hickory, sassafras and a hardy rubber tree.




Tree Tags – Telling the Tree’s Story

Tree tags can help many of us learn more about a campus tree that has caught our eye. This spring, our landscape team will begin installing tree tags – small 3x5 or 4x6 plaques that give its Latin name, describe the tree’s origin, and on larger tags, an interesting fact about the tree.


Look for these tags at eye height on campus trees at the end of  April.




Tree Research to be Published

Growing Canopy on a College Campus: Understanding 146 Years of Urban Forest Change through Archival Records and Aerial Photography by Laura A. Roman, PhD


This manuscript is the history of trees on an urban college campus: the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA.


Currently under peer review; may be published in Spring 2017




Penn is Crafting an Ecological Landscape Stewardship Plan

Since signing onto the Climate Action Plan in 2009, Penn has made considerable gains in making the campus landscape more environmentally friendly.  From the Stormwater Master Plan and the Sustainable SITES pilot program at Shoemaker Green to planting rain gardens, meadows and perennials, Penn continues to strive for a more ecological landscape.  These landscapes require a different level of management than what has been previously required for more conventional landscapes. 


In an effort to create and maintain beautiful landscapes while also taking advantage of the vast environmental benefits offered by them, we embarked on a year-long pilot study looking at 4 sites that represent common landscape types on Penn’s campus.  We hired a team of consultants, led by designers at Jonathan Alderson Landscape Architects, working closely with scientists from Biohabitats and others, to evaluate our existing landscape management practices throughout every season. Stakeholders from various divisions at Penn were involved, though mainly representatives from FRES OUA and O&M as well as Morris Arboretum provided direction and feedback throughout the entire process.  The consultant team is working towards presenting a report that will inform recommendations for creating a holistic, ecological management approach through improved planning, design, construction, maintenance, administrative structure and outreach.    


This effort is ongoing and will be the subject of a future announcement.



Photo courtesy of Gabriel Hodge, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

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