Plebian: Albion College Branches Out Into New Field of Study

The Branchless Tree between Vulgamore Hall and Robinson Hall sheds its leaves. The tree is the centerpiece of Albion’s newest academic venture, a large-scale research project into branchless trees (Photos courtesy of Katie Bullock).

(Part of The Plebian: April Fool’s Edition)

Albion College is making headlines this week by boldly stepping into a new realm of academic study: Branchless Tree Studies (BTS). 

The college will be funding a large-scale research project into the origins and biology of branchless trees. It is the first academic venture of its kind.

The Pleiad spoke with the Project Coordinator of BTS, Kaydee Hall, who said that it’s exciting to be leading a new field of academia. 

“I do believe that we are the first institution in the United States to be studying Branchless Trees, which is very exciting,” said Hall, via email. “It’s also a bit intimidating at times because we just want to make sure that we’re setting forth a good path for other institutions to begin their own BTS research.” 

Albion certainly is at an advantage in the field of BTS. There is a branchless tree on Albion’s campus, in the quad. 

Positioned between Vulgamore and Robinson Hall, the branchless tree has been a spectacle for students and staff alike:

“Branchless Trees are flexible, courageous, and give so much back to our communities (mostly in the way of oxygen and joy),” said Hall, via email.

Hall will be joined by Visiting Professor of Art and Art History Katie Bullock. Bullock will be directing the field study of the branchless tree – pivoting from art to the study of woody plants, dendrology. 

Bullock is aware that the shift from art to science is a big one, but she is excited to turn over a new leaf. 

  “It is an exciting field to be in, and though it might be a bit sappy, I often find that it is reaching for the unknown in my own backyard that leaves room for the most exciting discoveries,” Bullock said. 

Faculty members will be seeking student help, too. Working with Chris Berry of the Cutler Center for Student Success, the BTS team has established a group of three dedicated Albion students to contribute to the research. They will be known as the Tree-O. Berry is currently recruiting members for the Tree-O. 

“We’re reaching out to students who we know may be interested in studying trees, and we expect to hire our first branchless tree tutors in the fall,” Berry said. 

Interested students are encouraged to contact Berry and the Cutler Center, but the applicant pool is expected to be competitive. They may want to knock on wood.

About Liam Rappleye 6 Articles
Liam Rappleye is a sophomore English major from Grand Haven, Michigan, where he coaches a youth baseball team during the summer.

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