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Eco Campus Tour—Campus Tree Story
ECO CAMPUS TOUR—Campus Tree Story
Student Press of College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Jisoo Lim (Department of Plant Scienc), Jeong-yeon Kim (Department of Applied Biology and Chemistry)
On a wet spring day with rain about to fall, reporters Jeong-yeon Kim and Jisoo Lim signed themselves up for “2019 ECO CAMPUS TOUR—Create a campus tree story and small crafts.” They met with a forest interpreter and other event attendees to hear stories in front of a plane tree at Shinyang Library at noon on April 18. While the reporters expected to see a narrow range of age groups, they saw a variety of people including undergraduate and graduate students as well as teaching staff gathering to hear stories about the campus’ trees. In line with the tour’s goal, the attendees had lunch from reusable lunch boxes instead of disposable ones.
The forest interpreter is talking about the tree near the Faculty of Liberal Arts, the bird house on the tree, and the campus environment.
Not all students seemed to know about the Eco Campus Tour, which began in 2017 and is now going into its third year. Students strolling across campus after class curiously observed the tour as it was happening. Although not all members of SNU were familiar with the event, quite a few people showed interest. Fueled by this interest, the tour has been growing and adding new features such as bird house observation, which was new as of April 18, 2019, when the reporters have attended. The reporters were able to look at a great tit’s house as they listened to an expert’s explanations along with the clamor of the wary crowd. The expert explained the names, shapes, uses, and tales of the campus’ plants including the American sycamore, Korean early lilac, boxwood tree, zelkova, azalea, royal azalea, cornelian cherry, kerria, and winged euonymus, all of which constitute the campus’ landscape but are often ignored. The reporters suddenly found the campus strangely unfamiliar despite the last four years they have spent on campus. They put a mat on a pavilion located below the Liberation Tower, which they had always passed by without acknowledging, and concluded the campus tour by making small plushies with prints of the campus’ landscape. They visited the Research Forest that ran the Eco Campus Tour program for an interview.
Plushie-making activity—the plushies show the campus’ landscapes
Eco Campus Tour of the Research Forest promoting the beauty of the landscapes on SNU’s campus
The Research Forest is affiliated with the CALS and consists of the Chilbosan Research Forest, the Taehwasan Research Forest, the South Research Forest, and the Main Research Forest. The Main Research Forest manages plant resources on campus. Around 4,000 plant species can be found on SNU’s campus. The Research Forest not only helps manage plant resources on campus but also has been preparing an illustrated plant book and promoting the campus’ beauty. The Eco Campus Tour runs for the same purposes. The program is aimed at reminding members of the university from various fields of study who are unfamiliar with plants to value and cherish plants. A teaching assistant, Yumi Kim, explained that the purpose of the program lies in making societal contributions, helping members of SNU to enjoy nature even just for a moment and realizing that humans are merely a part of an ecosystem by enlightening them about the campus’ plant resources.
Therapeutic effects of forests
The Eco Campus Tour program provides members of SNU with an opportunity to experience the forest and enjoy its therapeutic effects. “Forest treatment” uses forest resources to enhance the immune system and reduce pain. In simple words, it promotes health. This program is currently run on the Gwanak Campus and Yeongeon Campus, where the SNU Hospital is located. The program was designed based on numerous study results showing that people heal faster and feel less pain in nature as opposed to being treated in a city or a hospital, and that diseases such as atopic dermatitis can be treated in natural forest environments. The Eco Campus Tour run by the Research Forest aims to inform the members of SNU of the benefits of forest treatment.
Future directions for the Research Forest
The Eco Campus Tour run by the Research Forest currently has a limited budget and is limited to members of SNU. Members of the Research Forest said that they “hope to see a wider variety of people participate in the event without any restriction on the number of participants, especially since the program’s goal is to make societal contributions.” They are also planning to try new approaches in organizing the program’s contents. They are currently conducting a survey to investigate SNU members’ satisfaction with the program and are trying to come up with content with practical applications. They will carefully consider every respondent’s input to organize a better program.
Members of the Research Forest promised to work to the best of their ability to provide even just a small window of time for busy people in modern society to take a moment to enjoy nature. The reporters could clearly see that the organization worked hard to spread awareness of the importance of forests and provide everyone with an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature. We wish the Research Forest great success in their journey of making the world a more beautiful and eco-friendly place.