Urban trees serve a number of important purposes: they reduce air and noise pollution, reduce soil erosion and stormwater runoff, save energy and reduce energy costs, modify local climate, improve and create wildlife habitat, enhance property values, and beautify urban areas.
With Villanova University’s current commitment to sustainability, the campus’s many trees play an important role in working towards this commitment. However, even before this formal commitment to sustainability was made, Villanova made a commitment to preserve its trees by designating its campus as an arboretum in 1992. Since this time, the campus’s title as an arboretum has been removed, but it notable trees remain.
For my Senior Independent Study, I have created the following: a map depicting the notable trees on Villanova’s main campus, a pamphlet containing this map and information about the history of Villanova’s campus and its notable trees, a Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) of Villanova’s main campus, and a webpage that allows users to learn about Villanova’s notable trees.
For the map, I collected data points of the selected trees’ positions using GPS and superimposed them onto a map of Villanova’s main campus. Using a specific equation and satellite imagery of Villanova’s main campus, I created the NDVI. All of the data and maps are included on a website that links with Google Earth and the brochure. Given the importance of urban trees and their key role in Villanova’s commitment to sustainability, my hope for this project is that it brings more attention and appreciation to Villanova University’s notable trees.
Jennifer Ramos '10, B.A. Environmental Studies, did this research highlighting the notable trees of Villanova University as part of her Senior Project.