Tree Love on Arbor Day

Hug a tree and plant one, too! It’s Arbor Day — a global holiday where communities are encouraged to plant trees — on the last Friday of April. The holiday originated in a village in Spain, Mondonedo, in 1594 and first was celebrated in America on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska. The commemorative day promotes tree planting as well as environmental awareness and responsibility.

Dr. K. Greg Murray, Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray and Dr. Jianhua Li are Hope College biologists who have expert insights about a tree’s worth to our environment’s well-being.

Dr. K. Greg Murray and Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray

Dr. Murray, the T. Elliot Weier Professor of Plant Science, has broad interests in community ecology and evolutionary biology, especially as they pertain to plant and animal interactions.  He and colleague Dr. Kathy Winnett-Murray, professor of biology, have also been tracking the ecological shifts in a West Michigan hemlock forest that is undergoing a potentially devastating insect infestation.

Dr. Jianhua Li

Dr. Li, associate professor of biology, uses data from anatomy, chemistry and molecular biology to study plant groups such as conifers, maples, lilacs and privets, and witch-hazels. He has written about The Tree of Life: China Project, for the Journal of Systematics and Evolution, a project that investigates the evolutionary biology of vascular plants in China. Li is also especially well-versed in Northern Hemisphere plant life, having served as a senior research scientist at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University for 10 years before coming to Hope.

Earth Day

Climate change. Oceanic garbage patches. Deforestation. Endangered species. Oh, the environmental woes we have in the only place we call home.

Let’s talk about creation care then, especially for Earth Day.

Earth Day is celebrated every April 22. First commemorated in 1970, Earth Day now includes events in more than 193 countries, which are coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.

For Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, Earth Day is every day. He is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope, and he oversees the environmental studies minor and chairs the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee, also known as the Green Team.

As an environmental theologian and a strong proponent of sustainability efforts locally and nationally, Bouma-Prediger actually prefers the term “earthkeeping” since it implies that God and faith have been invited into ecological conversations. “Being a (earth)keeper, in the biblical sense, means being someone who serves and protects,” he says. He has written six books and numerous papers on the subject. He also annually teaches “Ecological Theology and Ethics” in the Adirondack Park of upstate New York.

IRS Tax Filing Deadline

April 15 marks the end of the 2018 tax filing season and is the final day to submit 2018 tax returns. For many, taxes are an unwanted chore made bittersweet by the promise of a refund. Or not. This year’s changes in the tax code have created headaches for taxpayers as unexpected payouts are being discovered by many.

Sheri Geddes, associate professor of accounting, primarily teaches individual taxation, corporate taxation, and managerial accounting at Hope. Her research interests are retirement preparation and financial literacy. Geddes is able to address the changes that have occurred for the 2018 tax filing season and how those changes affect individual taxpayers.