Guido van Gemert voor een van de bomen op de campus. De bomen op de campus kun je beter leren kennen op de website Date a Tree
Guido van Gemert voor een van de bomen op de campus. De bomen op de campus kun je beter leren kennen op de website Date a Tree

Date a Tree: connect with a tree to connect with nature

There are approximately six thousand trees on campus, but who truly knows them? With this in mind, "Date a Tree" will be launched on June 18th. This unique platform encourages visitors to connect with their favorite tree on campus. Guido van Gemert, one of the initiators: "It's a different way to appreciate nature."

The "Date a Tree" website works like the dating app Tinder: visitors are shown a photo of a tree, which they can either accept or reject. If you like the tree and click through, the tree’s details are revealed: species, age, the fruits it bears and when, as well as information about the insects and birds that live around it. Guido van Gemert, an employee at Radboudumc, explains, "We often tend to see trees as a collective. This site aims to encourage people to get to know a tree as an individual."

Just like Tinder, a request to get acquainted is followed by the tree’s invitation. Using GPS, the tree knows your exact location and will guide you to visit. Unlike Tinder, multiple people can visit the same tree at the same time, which is perfectly fine. Van Gemert highlights a dual objective: “The first challenge is to connect people with the surrounding nature; the second is to foster connections among people.”

Stories of the trees

The website presentation is flexible, starting with twenty trees and a list that can be expanded based on visitor suggestions. The tree’s appearance will also change with the seasons. It is likely that student associations, fraternities, or study clubs will suggest trees for the website, according to Van Gemert. "That tree can then become a central point for gatherings of these groups."

There are plans to expand tree dating to the city and potentially roll it out nationally or across Europe. Just as a campus walk along all the trees on the dating site is possible, so too is an NS-walk, says Van Gemert. He also envisions connecting this new tree promotion with the long-standing tradition of the Tree of the Year election, a phenomenon at local, national, and European levels.

Another potential expansion of tree dating is the addition of audio information for each tree. The idea is to invite people to share their memories of the first twenty trees on the website. "Some trees are real memory trees," says Van Gemert, pointing to the tree next to Thomas van Aquinostraat 1, a silent witness to the unique street that dominated the campus for years but was mostly demolished some time ago. "There are many people with memories of Thomas van Aquinostraat. At this tree, you can listen to those memories, giving the tree a voice for its often long existence."

Launch of Date a Tree

Will you join the launch of "Date a Tree"? On Tuesday, June 18th, at 12 pm, a walk will begin along several trees, starting at Huize Heijendaal.

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