Helping arboretum programs flourish

Charles A. (Chuck) Cody’s
dedication to WSU plants and plant facilities grows from the heart.
“It’s a lot of work, but it’s my job to keep these living things alive,” said Cody, who just celebrated his 25th year as plant growth facilities manager for the School of Biological Sciences.
“My family was in the nursery business in San Antonio, so I grew up playing in greenhouses,” Cody said. “Then at 14, I stopped playing and started working in them.”
At WSU, that work includes running three greenhouses, 27 plant-growth facility chambers and 14 greenhouse environments. He manages 95 acres at Meyers Point, used primarily as a marine ecology education center in Olympia.
(Chuck Cody is a member of the committee that has steered development of the WSU arboretum. Photos by Tara Cunningham, WSU Today intern)
Intermittently, he has been executive secretary for the WSU arboretum committee for the past 20 years.
“I came to the committee simply with an interest for trees,” Cody said. “Everyone on the committee brings their own ideas of what they think should go into an arboretum and we then collaborate.”
University arboretums usually begin with educational and research endeavors but typically are also beautiful places for public outreach, he said.
Recently the newest area of the WSU arboretum project, located on Airport Road, was allotted $75,000 by President Elson S. Floyd to begin the planning process, Cody said. The arboretum committee has considered this land as a potential arboretum site since the late 1980s.
“It wasn’t until we had the money to do so, that we could even begin to
draw plans for this arboretum,” he said.
Although design is in the early stages, one proposal is to create a wildlife center that would relocate WSU’s grizzly bears and other animal facilities to the arboretum, he said.
(A WSU greenhouse managed by Cody)
In 1999, Cody assisted in development and organization of the alumni arboretum, located next to the Lewis Alumni Center. With the help of Capital Planning and Development, a concrete walking path was built through that arboretum. The old Ferry Hall cupola also was moved there as a gazebo. 
Staff Spotlight is an occasional series about WSU staff. If you have a suggestion of someone to be featured, please contact Tara Cunningham at

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