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On Miami University's Hamilton campus, the walk to class just got a lot more educational

magnolia tree in front of a greenhouse
Adrian Bennett
Miami University
Miami University Hamilton recently installed a tree walk similar to ones already in place on the Oxford campus.

Fall is here and leaves on trees are beginning to turn from lush greens to colorful hues of red and yellow. Miami University Hamilton's newly installed tree walk aims to inspire people and help them learn about the campus canopy.

The project was conceived by Chelsea Obrebski, former interim manager of The Conservatory at Miami Hamilton, and carried out in tandem with student Adrian Bennett.

"I've always heard from all the different faculty and staff that they would really like to have a tree walk on campus, kind of similar to the ones over in Oxford," Obrebski explains. "They have three different routes you can take over there with (identification) posts, and you can look up the names of all the different trees."

The tree walk consists of placards identifying 25 trees on campus, including QR codes linking to information about each species. There's also a web component with images and additional information, and a map laying out each tree's location on campus.

"I know one of the things that a lot of people have a problem with is plant blindness," says Obrebski. "Once you get people introduced to different species, and they can see all the different characteristics of them, they start actually noticing more in their environment."

She's hopeful people will benefit from the tree walk in several ways, whether it's simply by getting outside or by learning more about different types of trees and how to distinguish their various properties.

She says it's a great activity for kids, students and adults, and learning about the different types of trees and how to identify them is great for everyone.

"I hope people, out of this project, will be able to find multiple different benefits — whether it's walking outside and just exhibiting the different trees and appreciating all the different diversity that we have ... to utilizing it as a learning lab."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.