Indiana State University Newsroom

Sycamores plant sycamore trees in honor of Indiana State's sesquicentennial

September 29, 2015

Students from Indiana State University's LEAP program that gives incoming freshmen a head-start on college recently helped plant 150 sycamore trees.

The trees will mature on a tree farm the university owns at Third and Locust streets in Terre Haute, just north and west of the Indiana State campus. They are destined to be transplanted at the rate of 30 per year for the next five years as part of the university's celebration of its sesquicentennial era."The trees will be donated to the city and placed various locations, such as schools and parks," said Stephanie Krull, the university's landscape and grounds manager.

The trees are actually London plane trees, a close cousin of the sycamore selected because it is better suited for urban forests, Krull said.

"It tolerates city conditions and it stays a smaller size so it doesn't interfere with utilities as much and you don't have to prune it as heavily," she said. "The difference is the bark won't be as white as our native sycamore. It stays more of a green."

Krull said London plane trees have been growing for years between Wabash Avenue and Ohio Boulevard on Terre Haute's east side.

LEAP students and alumni of the three-week summer program that helps students with the skills needed to succeed in college had different reasons for getting up early on a Saturday and getting their hands dirty.

"I'm trying to outreach to the freshman class," said Phil Schwoeppe, an automotive technology engineer major from Fishers and a LEAP alumnus. "I'm a senior and I'd like to see them get themselves out there a little more. When I was a freshman, I held back on getting out there and getting involved."

Blake Cobb, a freshman pre-medicine student from Monon, said it was an opportunity to repay the university for the investment it has made in him.

"Indiana State gave me a great opportunity with the LEAP program so I figured I would give back with this project. It feels pretty good. I like to give back to the community. I've been doing that in my hometown for a while now," he said.

"I never really planted before and I like community service," said Azyana Hardeman, a freshman pre-nursing major from Indianapolis. "Also, I just like to give back."

Photo: - Indiana State University freshmen Blake Cobb of Fishers (left) and Phil Schwoeppe of Monon complete the planting of a London plane tree, a relative of the sycamore, on Sept. 26, 2015.

Photo: - Jim Pond, coordinator of Indiana State University's LEAP program, and LEAP student Azyana Hardeman of Indianapolis, apply mulch around a newly planted London plane tree Sept. 27, 2015.

Media contact and writer: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or