A huge tree lives at the heart of the WSU Pullman campus, next to Bryan Hall: the Lowell Elm. It was planted in 1893 by Harriet Bryan, wife of Washington State College President Enoch A. Bryan, after she brought the sapling from the Massachusetts home of poet James Russell Lowell.

Although the Lowell Elm will hopefully live many more years, some insightful WSU arborists planted a sapling of the elm to continue the legacy of the iconic tree. It’s growing well just down the hill from its parent.

Knowledge and gardening wisdom are also the coin of Master Gardeners. These volunteer gardening experts have been dispensing planting advice since WSU started the program 50 years ago. This issue explores the local, national, and global impact of Master Gardeners.

Speaking of auspicious milestones, a record number of WSU classes met for a large reunion this summer. We checked in with this year’s Platinum, Diamond, Golden, and Crimson grads as well as alumni who missed in-person reunions due to the pandemic. Those Cougs told stories of campus life, classes and professors, and memorable sports events.

College sports has changed quite a bit since many of those alums attended Washington State. Athletics continues to grow and adapt, as do student-athletes. With new, and somewhat confusing, rules around name, image, and likeness (NIL), student-athletes can benefit from playing sports in both small and large ways. WSU is a leader in teaching business skills to those students, as well as developing guidelines for NIL in practice.

Back in the world of plants and trees, the Pacific Northwest faces a challenge in saving western red cedars from dieback. The trees are susceptible to drought and dry conditions, which can cause them to eventually die. WSU researchers Robbie Andrus and Henry Adams are assessing the damage, and learning more about the effects of hot weather on forests.

Others are bringing back whole endangered landscapes. Chris Duke (’21 PhD Biol.) and the Phoenix Conservancy restore native Palouse prairie, following the work of conservation districts, WSU departments, and Cougs like Tim Pavish (’80 Comm.), former executive director of the WSU Alumni Association.

Beautiful Palouse native wildflowers now blanket swaths of prairie, just as plants all over the nation bring food and joy thanks to the local efforts of Master Gardeners.