Sonoma State is loved by many students, alumni, administration, and staff for its beautiful landscape and scenery. Recently, some of Sonoma State’s oldest trees were cut down between Salazar Hall and Ives Hall.
The trees surrounded the miniature outdoor amphitheater, where many classes and peer groups do group and outdoor class activities. An informational email was sent out to all students and faculty during winter break briefly stating the cutting down of the trees.
“As part of our campus tree care program, crews will be removing a few trees located south of Salazar Hall and north of Stevenson Hall over the next few weeks,” the statement read. “We will be taking down these pines and cottonwoods to prevent the risk of injury as these trees have reached the end of their life cycles.”
Paul Gullixson, Sonoma State University’s spokesperson, reiterated these words. “The trees were removed because they were getting old and needed to come down,” he said. “Most of the trees that were taken down were pines and cottonwoods that were starting to present a risk for those on campus.”
The removal began on Saturday, Dec. 22, and continued through Friday, Jan. 11. Because it was winter break, many students did not even realize that this removal was going to happen -- and when the spring semester began, many were wondering what looked so different about the area.
Some students and staff are sad to see the trees come down, but there is a plan being put in place to compensate for the removed trees. With every tree that is removed, Facilities are committed to planting a tree where the old one was removed.
Dana Twedell, the associate vice president for administration and finance for Facilities Operations and Planning, said, “As we remove trees, we’re committed to planting a tree for every tree that is removed. Some areas are over-planted, which causes stress to our trees, as well as to our buildings, so we need to review each condition case by case.”
Finance and Facilities Operations and Planning will be working with the campus Energy and Sustainability team as well as several members from Sonoma State’s Academic groups to make the “new tree and plant pallet for our campus” happen.
The new design will utilize materials that are drought tolerant, California native, climate resistant, and indigenous to the Sonoma County area, according to Facilities Operations and Planning.
Although it is sad to see these beautiful landmarks go, it is exciting that there will soon be a new landscape design for Sonoma State’s campus.
“Nobody wants to see a tree come down, but like us all, they’re subject to illness, disease, and do have a typical lifespan as well,” said Twedell. “For safety purposes, especially in high-trafficked areas, we’ll always seek to bring them down, before they fall down.”