The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Moravian’s Annual Tree Planting

Another Rank to the Phalanx of Trees
Photo courtesy of Mark Harris.
Photo courtesy of Mark Harris.

Last spring semester, on April 28, 2023, the Moravian community introduced a new member to the campus: the Cockspur Hawthorn.

Just as every student has their story for attending Moravian, this new addition to campus has a tale of its very own. 

Every year, the Moravian community congregates on Arbor Day in order to plant a new tree. Not only does the tree add to our current variety found across both North and South campuses, but it serves as a beacon of hope for Moravian’s resilience through a world ravaged by the climate crisis. 

Behind the Moravian University sign in front of Comenius Hall, members of the Moravian community, regardless of position on campus, made their appearance. Many of the people in attendance help to keep this event alive. 

Randy Haffling, the assistant director of Grounds & Logistics, as he does every year, spearheaded the planning of the event and worked with multiple parties to make this happen. Dr. Theresa Dougal and Professor Mark Harris, both from the English and Writing Arts Department, selected me to read “Directions,” a poem by Billy Collins, to set the tone for the event. 

Photo courtesy of Mark Harris.

Assistant Chaplain, Laura Oesterle, did a short blessing of the tree to wish it good health right before bringing attention to Connor Cavey ‘23. 

Cavey played a very special role at this year’s tree planting. An environmental science major, Cavey worked with Haffling to decide on the native tree to be planted on our campus: the Cockspur Hawthorn. 

This magnificent tree grows as high as thirty feet, sprouts red and white flower clusters, and produces a dark red fruit that attracts birds that we don’t usually see on Moravian’s campus. This tree’s versatility to survive in various soil types makes it an ideal candidate to handle a multitude of weather conditions and pollutants. Its unique canopy structure also serves as a habitat for smaller birds. 

During the event, Cavey shared with us the history behind the Cockspur Hawthorn. Its scientific name, Crataegus crus-galli, comes from Latin. Crataegus, literally meaning Hawthorn, also comes from the name of the fruits found on the tree, which are also called Haws. Crus-galli, in Latin, refers to the thorns that can be found on the tree, which resemble the little sharp spurs that can be found on roosters or, in other words, cocks. 

Cavey shared his enthusiasm in selecting this unique tree, native to Northeastern America, and was thankful to have played a role in bringing new life to campus.  

While a few people did play a part in the execution of the event, everyone in attendance got to take part in its magnum opus: the planting of the tree. After Carvey finished his final speech, attendees approached the newly planted Hawthorn and shoveled some soil around it. During this beautiful moment for our campus environment, everyone took turns doing what they could to show that Moravian cares about the Earth. 

Joel Hendricks ‘24, when asked about how he enjoyed the ceremony, stated, “I was pleasantly surprised with the ceremony! Experiencing everyone’s passion and excitement showed me just how crucial it is that Moravian should focus on environmental sustainability.”

Against all odds and despite the uncertainty of the future, Moravian’s community proves that these small victories can instill magnitudes of hope, one tree at a time. Regardless of anyone’s background, everyone can partake in this event to show their passion toward the tree diversity on Moravian’s campus.

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