When College of Environmental Design alumnus Jim Horner (BLA ‘71) started working as UC Berkeley’s campus landscape architect in 1996, he often carried the second edition of the Trees of the Berkeley Campus around as a guide, making notes in the book’s margins when he saw errors, omissions or discrepancies. Yet, during his 18-year career at Cal he never intended to actually co-author the third edition of the historical book, which hadn’t been updated in over 40 years.
“The volume of notes I wrote in the margins of my copy of Trees of the Berkeley Campus became so great that I realized -- as so many years went by and so many changes happened on campus -- if we could pull something together into a new book it would be exciting and worth doing,” Horner explained, adding, “As I recall, the previous editions were quite popular back in the day.”
Written and compiled over the course of nearly six years, Trees of the Berkeley Campus’ third edition, co-authored by Horner and CED alumna Lorraine Freeland (MCP/MLA ‘07), was published this past fall, its most recent edition since 1976. Published with assistance from the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC), The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) and the Beatrix Farrand Fund of the Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning at CED, Horner and Freeland’s book has been greatly expanded to include an extensive history of development and planting on campus, highlighting notable and landmark trees, new boundaries of the Berkeley campus including residence halls, People’s Park and the Clark Kerr campus and a plethora of facts and insights about the history and growth of trees on campus.
In addition to listing the botanical and scientific names, descriptions and locations of all 279 trees found on campus, Horner and Freeland’s edition aims to not only educate and inform those in the landscape field, but to also provide a compelling point of reference for all who have walked the UC Berkeley campus and been awed by the variety of plant life found within its borders.
“What stands out to me is the rich history embodied in Cal’s memorable and heritage trees. This book gives a nod not only to those which are still standing, but to those that once were,” Freeland explained. “With Jim’s knowledge of campus plantings, it was always a delight to find out about specimen trees and their progeny.”
The compilation process for Trees of the Berkeley Campus officially began back in 2011, when Horner recruited Freeland after she responded to an ad he posted. The two embarked on a six-year journey to revamp and revitalize the book, a project that Freeland described as “a combination treasure-hunt and fact-checking project,” that relied on both her background in forestry, landscape architecture and city planning and Horner’s wide-ranging knowledge of the Berkeley campus to complete.
“This project...gave me a vast appreciation for the work of the landscapers who make every effort to provide diverse plantings amidst the growing needs of a university,” Freeland said. “Walking around with Jim during our innumerable field checks was somewhat like walking around with the President, as I would imagine it, for every groundsman and professor we would pass would stop him to exchange a few friendly words.”
Trees of the Berkeley Campus also includes a foreword by Professor Emeritus of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Joe McBride and a brief history of campus planning by Senior Lecturer Emeritus of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Russ Beatty. Both McBride and Beatty advised and helped with putting together the book, offering their knowledge on the campus’ history and landscape architecture. While previous editions of Trees simply listed the names, descriptions and locations of trees, the newest edition is more educational, visually captivating, and nuanced, according to Horner, and tells anecdotes on topics that have never been written about before in many cases, such as the Mulford Hall Wood Exhibit, a collection of 150 different species of trees from the US, Canada and other parts of the world.
“This project blended field work with a narrative script: a script that was a combination of botanical terminology and campus history,” Freeland said. “My time as a graduate student in [LAEP] and [DCRP] was very focused on collecting data from field assessments, spatial analyses and community input to inform design recommendations; the same elements were required to complete the campus tree book.”
Part of that collection process encompassed counting up all 279 tree varieties -- including specimens as exotic as the Queensland nut (macadamia ternifolia) and Tasmanian tree fern (dicksonia antarctica) -- and accounting for all the trees that were lost and added since 1976. With 79 new additions and 78 losses, the campus has seen over 150 species come and go in just the past 40 years. Remarkably, 22 different kinds of oaks and 22 different types of pine trees live on campus, too, a number that even surprised Horner: “We live in a unique place with a temperate climate, and though there are trees on campus from all over the world, they all seem to survive here,” he explained.
Both Horner and Freeland hope that Trees of the Berkeley Campus will describe the campus canopy as accurately as possible, “with cultural and historical information that could be useful to students, faculty and the campus community,” Freeland said. Their years of hard work were ultimately fueled by a fondness and appreciation for the Berkeley campus they both spent so much time on. Reflecting both the individuality and uniqueness of Cal’s campus landscape architecture, Trees of the Berkeley Campus boasts a tree population as diverse and distinct as its student body counterpart.
“The variety and collage of landscape types is one of the reasons why the Berkeley campus is so beautiful,” Horner reflected. “Unlike a campus that’s been primarily developed during one time period with a certain aesthetic, the Berkeley campus represents many time periods from the 1860s onward, and that is what makes it so dynamic: It changes over time, either through mortality or cultural tastes, and it hasn’t stopped changing.”
The Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning will be hosting a book launch and reception for Trees of the Berkeley Campus' this Thursday, March 23 at the Campanile (Sather Tower), and copies of the book will be available to purchase for a special price of $20. To order online, contact email@example.com.