Dispatches from the Future
I dread the thought of walking in the heat with my graduation gown on from my parent’s car to the graduation ceremony auditorium. My father graduated from Chico State in 2015 and he tells me his graduation took place during a gorgeous sunny day with pleasant shade patches from the towering trees. Unfortunately, the four days that reached above 105 degrees over May graduation weekend in 2030 have since forced continuing graduations to be held inside a congested room. Now, in 2037, I long for the days when campus had those marvelous seventy foot-tall oaks, sweetgums, sycamore, and many others to protect students and faculty from the scorching sun.
The campus Founder’s Tree, one of the last giant sycamores on campus, has subsequently become a major attraction by the visiting families during graduation weekend. It has become a glimpse to the past at what once used to be a forested campus. Tragically, it and the other few remaining survivors had to be cut down this year. Because of the heat and lack of water one of dead branches from the founder’s tree fell and struck the Chico State President while she was posing for a photo beneath it. Her severe injuries were the legal justification to cut down the remaining giants.
This year, however, campus organizations such as Cave and Green Campus have successfully undertaken to rehabilitate Chico State. To commemorate John Bidwell, the man who founded Chico and planted all the original trees over a hundred years ago, they have created new Bidwell 2.0 ceremonial days. These ceremonial days include planting sprees where local nursery’s donate climate ready trees and use students to plant them around campus. One of the most anticipated Bidwell 2.0 planting sprees will be tomorrow. Each graduating student and their friends and family will be given a climate ready tree to plant along the main strip of campus. This is an exciting time for us all as we are able to shape our community and campus to how it used to be.
-- Alec McGregor