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University of Minnesota Students Put Up QR Codes on Trees


Arboriculture students of the University of Minnesota have started an information campaign that makes use of quick response codes. The QR codes are put up on 34 species of trees across the university’s St. Paul campus with the aim of educating the public and other students about each tree.

Arboriculture, for those who do not know, is the study, cultivation and management of individual trees, vines, shrubs, and other kinds of perennial woody plants.

The class wanted others to gain additional knowledge about nature and it decided to use popular, interactive technology to share the information. Scanning a QR code label on a particular tree with the use of a smartphone will take one to an online page about its specie.

The class carefully selected the species they wanted to educate the public about. These include the White Oak, the Sugar Maple, and the Austrian Pine. According to the class professor, Gary Johnson, these three species make up a third of the total number of species found all over the campus.

Johnson says that his kind of information campaign is the first in the university. He is hoping, however, to bring the project to the university’s campus in Minneapolis, and even to various surrounding parks in the two cities.

The class teaching assistant, Eric North, noted that the City of St. Paul has already expressed interest in the project’s elements and is hoping to use them for purposes of community outreach. In fact, he says that Professor Johnson has already been requested to assist in putting up QR code signs on trees at Horton Park for Arbor Day.

Yet, Johnson contends that in order to further expand the project, bigger funding will be needed. He relates that to put up more permanent QR coded signs on the trees, they will need $3,000 to $5,000. Currently, the class is using a simple laminated paper signage that’s tied on the tree with a string.

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