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Urban Forestry Professor Tom Green (far right) with this urban forestry students on the WIU-Macomb campus. Green is set to retire December 31, 2010. To honor his dedication to WIU and his urban forestry students, the WIU Forestry Club will plant two Regal Prince hybrid oak trees at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22 at Horn Field Campus, south of Macomb.
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WIU Forestry Club to Honor Retiring Professor Green at Oct. 22 Tree-Planting Ceremony

October 21, 2010

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MACOMB, IL -- When Western Illinois University Urban Forestry Professor John Reeves retired in 1993, the WIU Forestry Club planted a tree in his honor. Then WIU students and Forestry Club members and now WIU alumni Don Roppolo (Pleasant Prairie, WI) and Chad Sperry (who is also now the director WIU's Geographic Information System, or GIS, Center) helped plant the tree, a Shumard oak, near Adams St. According to WIU Forestry Club President Rabb Shah (senior, Lemont, IL), the Shumard oak tree was selected because it is native to Reeves' southern Illinois region.

Almost 20 years later, the WIU Forestry Club's adviser and Urban Forestry Professor Tom Green is now on the precipice of retirement. According to WIU Forestry Club Secretary Brian Sprinkle (junior, Industry, IL), Green is set to retire December 31 this year and, once again, the WIU Forestry Club will be planting trees in honor of a dedicated WIU School of Ag urban forestry faculty member. This time around, the students will be honoring Green's dedication to the urban forestry program and students at WIU.

According to WIU Forestry Club Vice President Adam Engelskirchen (senior, Sugar Grove, IL), the Forestry Club members will plant two Regal Prince hybrid oak trees at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22 at WIU's Horn Field Campus. The event will include Green's students, past and present, as well Roppolo and Sperry (who are also past students of Green's), who will be on hand as two distinguished alumni of WIU's urban forestry program. The trees to be planted are being donated by Tim Howe, the Macomb city forester (who earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Western), and the members of the WIU Forestry Club.

Green, who earned his B.S. in zoology in 1969, his M.S. in botany in 1971 (both from WIU) and his Ph.D. in plant pathology from Iowa State University in 1979, is responsible for planting more than 100 trees growing on the WIU-Macomb campus, the Harry Mussatto Golf Course and at the recreation, park and tourism (RPTA) department's Horn Field Campus, Engelskirchen noted. He added that the Regal Prince hybrid oak has special importance to Green, as he is one of the authors of the description for this hybrid tree.

"Earl Cully, nurseryman and owner of Heritage Trees, Inc., in Jacksonville (IL), asked Dr. Green to help write the taxonomic description of a hybrid oak he wanted to introduce to the nursery trade. The tree was a cross of swamp white oak (Quercus bicolor) and the upright form of the English oak (Quercus robur). It produced an upright form with high-quality, dark green leaves with a silver underside," Shah explained. "When obtaining a plant patent, the genus and species must be included, and because these trees do not have a common native range, the cross, or hybrid, process occurred on the University of Missouri campus, where Mr. Cully collected the seeds. With the help of Dr. William Hess, taxonomist from the Morton Arboretum, the hybrid was given the scientific name of Quercus x warei. Professor Green had worked with Dr. Hess for 13 years at the Morton Arboretum. When a person gives a new scientific name to a plant or animal species, he or she is known as the author; thus Dr. Green and Dr. Hess are the authors for the 'Regal Prince' oak."

The tree-planting ceremony is open free to the public and current and former WIU urban forestry students. For more information, contact the WIU School of Agriculture at (309) 298-1080. Visit WIU's School of Ag online at Learn more about the WIU Forestry Club at

Directions to Horn Field Campus

Horn Field Campus (HFC) is located south of Macomb on China Road. From South Johnson Street (past Macomb High School), turn right on China Road and follow the road one-quarter of a mile to the Horn Field Campus entrance. Parking is permitted on the HFC lot.

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