New University-Community Partnership
Connects Research and Environment
Paper 2 Tree is a new outreach program that aims to create a stronger connection between researchers at Illinois and the Champaign-Urbana community and environment. The program officially kicks off Thursday, November 16. Deborah Frank Feinen, Mayor of Champaign, along with city and park district representatives, will be on hand, and the event will impact nearly 100 area school children across both cities.
Started by Mattia Gazzola, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) at the University of Illinois, Paper 2 Tree encourages anyone who publishes a scientific paper to donate a tree to be planted—a tree that will grow along with the scientific reach of the research. Trees will be associated to the publication reference, geo-localized, and visualized on a map—all data to be made publicly available, along with tree species, scientific area, and associated university department.
“Some time ago I realized that for every article I publish, I use many, many sheets of paper—writing, re-writing, reviewing, and correcting. I wondered if I could try to reverse that. What if I could plant a tree every time I publish a good paper, and at the same time celebrate and share it with the wider public?” said Gazzola.
Paper 2 Tree has partnered with the Champaign Park District, Urbana Park District, City of Champaign, City of Urbana, Champaign Unit 4 School District, Urbana School District 116, and many university units, including the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, the College of Engineering’s Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education, the College of Education, and others.
“The Champaign Park District is excited to see a creative collaboration like Paper 2 Tree come to fruition. We believe it will help bring more community and environmental awareness to students and researchers, while reminding the community how important their research is to Champaign-Urbana,” said Chelsea Norton, Director of Marketing and Communications for the Champaign Park District.
Urbana Park District Director Tim Bartlett indicated that the district appreciates the new program for the assistance it will provide with ongoing reforestation efforts. “The Urbana Park District cares for nearly 4,000 trees. We are in need of new trees whenever a damaged or diseased tree must be replaced. Paper2Tree will help us meet that need,” he said.
The all-day collaborative kickoff celebration will include four STEM educational activities with students at elementary schools in Urbana and Champaign, tree plantings in Urbana and Champaign parks, and official remarks.
9:00-10:30 am -- Educational activities at MLK Jr. Elementary School, Urbana10:30-11:00 am -- Tree planting by Urbana Park District, with students, in King Park, Urbana
1:00-2:30 pm -- Educational activities at Booker T. Washington Elementary School, Champaign
2:30-2:45 pm -- Official remarks/thank you to Paper 2 Tree partners
2:45-3:00 pm -- Tree planting by Champaign Park District, with students, in Douglass Park, Champaign
The Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering (MechSE) boasts top-ranked degree programs in engineering mechanics, mechanical engineering, and theoretical and applied mechanics. MechSE’s curricula offer students unparalleled strengths in key fundamental areas, such as fluid and solid mechanics, thermodynamics and heat transfer, dynamics and controls, biomechanical sciences, computational science, applied math, applied physics, and chemistry. The unit is under the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois and is led by Department Head and Professor Anthony Jacobi.
Julia Stackler, Assistant Director of Communications
Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering