Deforestation in the Parking Lots

Carmen Hunderman, Contributor

So you’ve most likely heard about the tree removal in the parking lots across campus. It’s been on the announcements, it’s been stated in the emails, and obviously, it can be seen in the parking lots. Although the admin shared that the trees were removed for storm drain flooding and to add more parking spaces, some students, including myself, aren’t fans. 

In a newsletter that was sent out to Bob Jones students, it talks about how the first phase was already completed over spring break for the redesign of the parking lot. The first phase is, of course, the removal of the trees. In the same newsletter, the justification for the removal of the trees was more parking spaces, new lighting, crumbling islands, and flooding caused by leaves falling.

Some students said the trees were aesthetically important to the school. Senior Amy Athing stated, “The trees were an essential part of the parking lots. It made it look less jail-like here. They have essentially removed all joy from the parking lots.”Others brought up the point of shade. Senior Christine Pham said, “I really miss the trees because they provided shade in the parking lot.”

Junior Leo Shepherd shared his hopes that trees will be re-planted. “I hope so. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, ‘Research demonstrates that exposure to trees has a relaxing effect on humans, reducing stress and imparting a sense of well-being.'” I did my own research, and I found overwhelming evidence that trees are beneficial to humans, particularly one’s mental health. The article “Does Being around Trees Help People Feel Good?’’ by Scientific American talks about how trees and nature can bring physiological benefits. A study published in the journal Nature stated that people living on a street with a higher tree density reported better health perception than those with a less tree density where they live. 

With the construction of the new special ed classroom and our school enrollment ever growing, we will be needing more parking spaces. I asked Mrs. Lambert how many parking spaces would be added and she said the amount was still undetermined. We definitely need more parking spaces, and that’s the reality. BUT…

We’re losing a lot of trees in our area with the construction of roads and subdivisions. Trees were also removed near campus for the construction on Hughes Road. If you look behind the baseball field, believe it or not, those houses used to be trees. With the city of Madison growing at a rapid rate and multiple subdivisions being built, we tend to lose sight of the environmental costs. I mean, we don’t want a repeat of the Lorax, do we? 

Multiple students said they do hope that the school will plant more trees. When asked if more trees will be planted, Mrs. Lambert stated, “There will be trees/shrubs planted in other areas of the campus as the new building and redesign takes place.” This is excellent news. Senior Anne Elise Cairns brought up a great idea: “Maybe it is an opportunity for environmental students to plant things as a project.” Putting things like this in the hands of the students would make them truly appreciate the beauty of nature, want to conserve it, and pass that same thought on to other people. 

So I encourage you to go plant a tree or if you want to maybe start a group that petitions against the removal of trees across Madison. And let’s hope that the admin keeps that promise of planting more trees around campus and maybe in the future our facilities will look nice and green again.