Mapping out an independent study

Elijah Gray, Reporter

Senior Emmi Chambers took her love for everything ecology outdoors last semester into her independent study. She provided much needed updates to the Illinois State University campus tree map. The tree map provides information about different types of trees included in the Fell Arboretum, a collection of trees that spans ISU’s entire campus.

Working with her faculty sponsor Maggy Proctor, who teaches environmental science, Chambers worked diligently to document each species of tree on the ISU quad and where it could be found, focusing on trees that had been removed or introduced to the quad in the decade since the old ISU tree map had been updated.

“I’ve been outside a lot my entire life, and ecology is something I’m really interested in because of spending so much time outdoors,” Chambers said.

Chambers got the idea to revamp the tree map for the Fell Arboretum when her mom mentioned the updates needed for the neglected tree map.

“My mom works at ISU and knew about the tree map which was really outdated,” Chambers said. “I thought that would be a cool thing to do for my independent study.”

Chambers approached Proctor about her independent study last year during second semester. “When Emmi came to me with the idea I was all for it,” Proctor said. “We have a large tree unit in my environmental science class that uses the tree map, so I was eager to see it updated.”

Throughout her project Chambers reached out to many professors and staff members at ISU, as well as Proctor, when she had difficulties identifying certain trees.

“Emmi came to me whenever she needed help with identifying a specific tree,” Nick Pershey a horticulturist and faculty member at ISU said. “The tree map covering the entire ISU campus is currently being updated by multiple staff and students at ISU, Emmi mapped out all the new and removed trees on the ISU quad.”

This semester Chambers will continue to work with Proctor to take her independent study a step further. Her focus will be categorizing the trees on the quad by species, studying which trees are native to the Illinois area and which are not, and how well each species of tree is fairing.

“The most important thing is to show initiative,” Proctor said when questioned about independent studies. “Emmi was really good about that.”

As Emmi continues her project she hopes that her work will have a positive impact on her community.

“I like that I was able to help ISU start making this new map,” Chambers said. “I think my independent study will benefit ISU campus and the Fell Arboretum.”