Students hammock near Campanile during their free time on April 16.

Twelve more hammock poles were added to Iowa State’s campus to further prevent damage to campus trees, according to a news release.

The addition of the new hammock poles is a way for students to continue enjoying the relaxation of hammocking while being respectful to the trees.

“Okay so we started noticing the damage probably at least three years ago,” said Rhonda Martin, landscape architect in the Facilities Planning and Management department. “It was visible because you could see where the straps from the hammocks were rubbing on the bark and causing the bark to flake off. Then there started to be some scarring.”

Martin said they decided to add more hammock poles because people were still using the trees, further damaging them.


(Left to right) Joshua Caplinger, then-freshman in software engineering, Derek Wurth, then-freshman in psychology and Austin Hedgren, then-freshman in mechanical engineering, hammock and hang out while enjoying the first few days of spring weather March 28.

“We have a group that’s called the Campus Tree Advisory Committee,” Martin said. “And that’s made up of faculty and campus facility, like [Facilities Planning and Management] staff. We took a walk around campus and discussed if we were going to add hammock poles where could we add [them] that would not detrimentally impact the trees in that area.”

Martin said it was important to avoid areas with vulnerable or historic trees as the poles could damage the roots of the trees.

Martin also said that if students do hammock on the trees they should use wide straps rather than narrow rope-like straps. Students can also place a cushion between the strap and the tree.

The dozen poles added to campus over the summer are in various locations. Four of them were placed west of the Jischke Honors Building, five were added east of Pearson Hall and the remaining three are located south of LeBaron Hall.

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Jake Dalbey, then-junior in public relations, hammocks on the newly cemented poles on Central Campus April 10, 2018. Facilities Planning and Management placed the poles in an effort to minimize damage to historic trees on campus. 

Multiple hammocks can be hung on the metal poles and each pole has bands to hold the straps of the hammocks in place so they don’t slide down during use. A total of four bands are on each pole, three toward the top of the pole and a fourth closer to the bottom for slack-lines.

Katelyn Moje, junior in mechanical engineering and president of Iowa State’s Hammocking Club, said she enjoyed hammocking with her friends and taking a break from classes, so they started the club.

“We’re really excited about the addition of the hammocking poles because our club has been expanding,” Moje said. “So that’s gonna be nice because it allows us to have more space for our members, that kinda thing, so that’s really exciting and we’re hoping to see that continue.”

Moje said the Hammocking Club is a really new club so they haven’t had the chance to participate in adding more hammocking poles, but the club has a long term goal of fundraising for more.

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