OCTOBER 28, 2009

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Cameron Student Devises Campus Tree Tour

Photo of Cameron University's William Schlecht, leading a Cameron Tree T our.
Cameron University biology education senior William Schlecht unveils the Cameron Tree Tour.

When he had to develop a senior project to fulfill a requirement for his biology education degree, Cameron University senior William Schlecht of Cache knew he wanted to implement a project that would exceed his course requirements. He wanted to create something that would impact the Cameron community for years to come. With that in mind, he developed the Cameron Tree Tour, which incorporates 18 different species of trees and shrubs, each selected for their ethnobotanical, economic and/or aesthetic value.

“I’ve had a great educational experience at Cameron, so it’s nice to be able to add to that experience for someone else,” Schlecht says. “Trees are a great way to introduce people to science. They don‘t run away, they don’t bite, and they’re easy to find. I hope the campus tree tour will lead other students to the sciences so they can learn from the outstanding faculty members that I have come to know.”

The Cameron Tree Tour is a walking tour that provides educational, recreational and physical fitness opportunities while taking advantage of the existing arboretum on the CU campus. In addition to identifying the trees on the tour, Schlecht also developed a brochure that provides basic information on each of the trees, which are designated by numbered plaques that correspond to the accompanying brochure.

Tree tour brochures are available in the department of biological sciences, the Student Activities Building, One Stop in North Shepler and the Office of Public Affairs, Room 150 of the Administration Building.

The tree tour starts with a maiden hair tree in front of Shepler Center and follows a route of approximately one mile that concludes with a Redbud adjacent to the Fitness Center. In between, visitors will find the eastern red cedar, silver maple, green ash, mimosa, sweetgum, cottonwood, sycamore, chinkapin oak, golden rain, red elm, American elm, bald cypress, Texas live oak, mistletoe, crabapple and western soapberry.

In May 2010, Schlecht will become CU’s first recipient of a baccalaureate degree in biology education. Originally pursuing a degree in history with an eye toward teaching, he changed his major to biology after taking principles of biology in spring 2007. When the biology education program was implemented following OSRHE approval in 2007, it was the ideal program for the aspiring teacher who discovered a passion for biology. He credits Dr. Mike Dunn, associate professor of biological sciences, for igniting that passion.

“After the first week of principles of biology, I was hooked,” Schlecht says. “Dr. Dunn introduced me to a world that I had always taken for granted, and I found myself fascinated with plant and animal life.”