Remembering staff, students and local residents with memorial trees on campus
The Memorial Tree Record now contains nearly a hundred entries, starting with commemorations of staff of the former City of Coventry Training College serving in the 1940?s. Many of these trees have complemented the arboretum style planting at Westwood, and more recent additions have been donated by the Westwood Former Students Association.
The records show the rest of the Campus has memorial trees and benches dating from the earliest years of the University. There still may be some memorial trees for which we have no, or incomplete, records as they were planted before any formal records were kept. The trees and benches celebrate the lives of staff, students and their families, as well as local residents. The comments in the book testify that these people all had a special relationship with the University or the Campus ? and often the tree or bench is in memory of a favourite walk, happy times in the surroundings, or the view from a window. Retiring staff and those moving to new posts have also given trees and benches as a ?farewell present? in celebration of a Campus they have enjoyed.
Current residents of the Campus appreciate the memorial trees without necessarily knowing that is what they are, as they have been carefully integrated into the landscape. The plantings include small saplings which will eventually become English forest trees, ornamental trees with decorative bark, striking foliage or splendid blossom and a few exotic or semitropical examples. On a slightly grander scale there are some groups of different varieties of the same species, and even small copses. The Millennium Wood, planted alongside Tocil Wood in December 1999, celebrates links between the University and the local Coventry community, and the millennium oaks planted on the boundary of the University land will eventually make their mark on the Warwickshire landscape.
The Memorial Tree Record, held at Rootes Reception, is a fine, leather-bound book, designed and made in the University?s bindery as an appropriate account of donations. The records are updated each year after the winter planting season (November to March) and in addition to the commemoration, include information about the tree, its location, the donor and other comments. The book is available for viewing in Rootes Reception.
The Landscape Working Group would like to encourage further donations of trees and will offer advice on suitable species for the different soils and microclimates around the Campus. A donation of ?40 covers the purchase of the tree, preparation, planting and staking and it is often possible to include a tree in a group planting planned for that season.
Arrangements for donations can be made through Elizabeth Ballantine, Warwick Business School, extension 72870, who is Secretary to the Landscape Working Group.