Students Put Price On Trees to Raise Environmental Awareness
Cornell Daily Sun (April 20, 2017)

On Tuesday, a group of students labeled approximately 80 trees on the Arts Quad with individual price tags — but the trees are not for sale.

The tags — as a part of the annual “The Value of Trees” exhibition — show the environmental value of each tree based on its ecological services like removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, cooling, reducing pollution and retaining storm water runoff.

The exhibit is a student-led event that has been taking place since 2013 as a part of the Creating the Urban Eden course led by Prof. Nina Bassuk, horticulture, and Prof. Peter Trowbridge, landscape architecture.

“We celebrate trees on Arbor Day. We celebrate the Earth on Earth Day,” Bassuk said. “This activity ties the two together to make people more aware of all the benefits trees provide to the environment.”

The students in the class calculated the value of each tree by using iTree Design, an online software developed by the USDA Forest Service, according to Bassuk. This software can estimate the benefits of an individual tree using its location, species, size and condition. It can even calculate the impacts trees have on the heating and cooling utility bill, for those located near buildings.

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