Hope College prides itself in a beautiful campus environment that encourages the community to connect with nature. One of the most valuable assets to encourage this relationship is our trees.

“He who plants a tree plants hope.”
—Lucy Larcom

Why are trees important?

Trees provide benefits to humans (ecosystem services):

  • Mitigate droughts and floods
  • Climate stability
  • Purify air and water
  • Aesthetic value
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Noise reduction

Trees are a solution to some of the greatest issues we face, including climate change. Around the globe, trees lead to a healthier environment, economy, and society.”
—Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus Higher Education.

Our goal is to bring students and stakeholders together, so they can be prepared as Christian stewards and responsible global citizens. We engage the world constructively through our teaching, research and community service in order to shape Hope College into a model of sustainability and to be a force for good in the world.

As urbanization rapidly replaces natural forest cover, urban forests are becoming increasingly important because of the ecosystem services they provide. This website highlights some of our active projects related to learning more about the benefits of trees and can be used as a tool for our campus community as well as the greater Holland area.

Hope College has been honored with Tree Campus USA® recognition since 2018. A campus with this status is regarded for fostering considerable community and campus involvement in maintaining urban forests and having effective management of campus trees.

TreeSap was built to allow nature enthusiasts to identify and understand the value of trees throughout the Holland, Michigan, area. Using data collected by Hope College and the City of
Holland, users can identify trees via their current location, manual coordinate entry, map and QR code. Additionally, users can add their own trees to the database and have their trees reviewed and approved by trusted curators. 

Download the app to your Apple or Android device.

  • Our research identifies and quantifies specific benefits that trees provide us
  • Allows us to make smart planting decisions based on desired benefits
  • Encourages a relationship with nature

TreeSAP Partners:


Hope’s campus has over 2,000 trees composed of approximately 100 different species. The structural value of these trees adds up to over $3.8 million, though the most valuable aspects of these trees are the ecosystem services they provide our community every year. 


The Hope College Nature Preserve is a beautiful, 55-acre Beech-Maple forest located within the Western Michigan dune ecosystem. It is home to over 40 species of plants, 14 species of mammals, 40 species of birds and hundreds of species of arthropods. The preserve is located approximately five miles from our main campus and 1/4 mile from the Lake Michigan shoreline in Laketown Township, Allegan County.

The students and faculty of the Department of Biology are passionate about our responsibility to protect and manage the property wisely, both for the sake of the college’s academic program and because even small parcels of natural habitat are important repositories of biological diversity. Our species list grows yearly as we explore the property more fully. Unfortunately, it is clear that this property already suffers from many threats, and that these will become more severe as suburban development increasingly isolates the site from larger parcels of natural habitat in the future. One of our most important long-term goals is to use the nature preserve to understand how small parcels of land can best be managed for the maintenance of their biological diversity and the ecosystem services they provide.

Although the primary use of the nature preserve is for teaching and research by Hope College students and faculty, the preserve can be visited by those not affiliated with Hope College. However, because research projects are sensitive to disturbance, hunting, camping, horseback riding, off-road vehicle use, mountain biking and cross-country skiing are strictly prohibited. 

Persons interested in visiting to the property for such purposes should contact Dr. K. Greg Murray via phone at 616.395.7716 or via email at gmurray@hope.edu.


To make reservations for Morningside Park, please contact Hope College Events and Conferences (616.395.7222).

Morningside Park is located on the corner of 32nd Street and Morningside Drive in Holland. It spans 1.6 acres and was donated to Hope College in 2007 by its former owners, Merle and Arloa Prins. The beautiful park features a gazebo (often used for weddings), a nice shed to store tools and a quaint bridge over a stream. Along the shaded paths, there are many different kinds of plants used for a variety of medicinal purposes.

Hope College Herbarium (HCHM) is located in room 3051 of the Schaap Science Center and holds about 8,000 specimens mostly from the West Michigan area with a rich collection of asteraceous plants. Our herbarium specimen images are online in the Symbio Portal.
The 1,750 square-foot greenhouse has been a facility of the college and the biology department since 1972. It provides an environment in which experimental plants can be cultivated to allow student-faculty collaborative research, functions as a repository of a diversity of living specimens that are used in many botany and general biology courses, and provides an opportunity for the biology department to reach out to community in informal education of people of all ages.