8 Great Benefits of Becoming a Tree Campus USA – Straight from the mouths of other campuses

Earning Tree Campus USA certification provides multiple benefits, both to the school that receives it and the community that supports it. But don’t take our word for it. Below are insights from students, faculty and employees whose campuses are currently part of the program.

1 | Penn State University – Behrend

“Penn State Behrend is a beautiful wooded campus, and I am very proud of the Tree Campus USA designation. Over the past three years, we have added approximately 150 trees to our campus and 100 more in Harborcreek Township, and this designation will allow us to apply for grant funds to plant even more trees.” – Ann Quinn, Director of Greener Behrend, an outreach effort of the college’s School of Science

2 | SUNY – Cortland

“For the campus, it shows a commitment to creating an urban forest that is healthy, and it recognizes the urban forest as being important for human health, energy conservation, pollution mitigation and water conservation too.” – Steven Broyles, Professor of Biological Sciences

One of Prof. Broyles’ students, Elizabeth Fabozzi, also stated, “Being recognized as a tree campus is a huge honor in the tree conserving and preserving community. It demonstrates how the College cares about all of its biotic components, especially the trees.”

3 | Vasser University

“Applying for Tree Campus USA designation through the Arbor Day Foundation was a great way to give legitimacy to our sustainable landscaping efforts and support the historic legacy of our trees.” – Alistair Hall, Assistant for Sustainability Activities

4 | Appalachian State University

“This certification demonstrates Appalachian’s commitment to environmental aspects of sustainability.” – Mike Madritich, Associate Professor of Biology and member of the university’s certification team

5 | Stetson University

“The landscape is much more than a welcome mat for Stetson. It also provides places suitable for informal gatherings, outdoor class sessions, play and quiet reflection. Additionally, because the campus landscape is the only part of the university that some local citizens and visitors see, it should be one that reflects the mission and values we promote.” – Cynthia Bennington, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

6 | Georgia Tech University

“The Tree Campus USA certification highlights all the things we are doing that otherwise people would not know about. A beautiful tree canopy helps in recruiting students and faculty. Once they see the peaceful environment, they want to come in and know more about what we have [on campus].” – Hyacinth Ide, Associate Director of Landscape Services

7 | Clayton State University

“You don’t have to spend more than five seconds on this campus to know that trees are who we are. Trees define us. We want to make sure this campus is not just beautiful today, but beautiful forever.” – Dr. Thomas Hynes, Clayton State President

8 | California State University – Channel Islands

“This recognition reflects the commitment of CI’s entire campus community, which cares about making our environment stunning and sustainable. Not only do our outdoor spaces make CI a desirable place to live, learn, work and play, but they also provide a valuable opportunity for learning about conserving and replenishing the resources we use.” – Dave Chakraborty, Associate Vice President for Operations, Planning & Construction

Learn more about the Tree Campus USA program here or check out the full list of certified schools. Did your school make the list?

The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the East Region

Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA campuses. Our NCAA series concludes with our final region of Tree Campus USA campuses — the east region.

americanAmerican University: American University has been designated a Tree Campus USA for five years. AU’s campus arboretum offers more than 75 different tree species.

Delaware State University: delawareDelaware State University has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. DSU’s campus arboretum contains more than 174 different species and some notable trees, including the Shingle Oak state record tree, the 2nd largest of its species in the state.

dukeDuke University: Duke University has been designated a Tree Campus USA for six years. Duke has taken a number of initiatives toward becoming a more sustainable campus. In addition to campus efforts, Duke collaborated with NC State University and the NC Division of Forest Resources to achieve sustainable forestry certificates for 55,000 acres of forest in North Carolina.

SyracuseSyracuse University: Syracuse University has been designated a Tree Campus USA for two years. SU’s grounds department maintains more than 683 acres of landscape.

University of Connecticut: UConnUniversity of Connecticut received Tree Campus USA designation for the first time in 2013.  More than 300 tree species are spread across 4,104 acres on the UConn main campus.

University of Florida: HSC-aerial[1]University of Florida received Tree Campus USA designation for the first time in 2013. The campus is adorned with more than 1,200 trees. UF’s efforts on becoming more sustainable have made them an Audubon International Cooperative Sanctuary.

University of Massachusetts Lowell: Southwick620[1]University of Massachusetts Lowell has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years.

Is your school or alma mater a Tree Campus USA? Learn more about the Benefits of Being a Tree Campus USA.

The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the Central Region

Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA’s. Our NCAA series continues with the following list of Tree Campus USA’s in the central region.

Photo Services, Kim HaskinsUniversity of Michigan: U-M was the first university to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA and has received designation for the last six years. U-M has more than 16,000 trees spread across its four campuses. The central campus alone has more than 1,200 trees.

eku2_4[1]Eastern Kentucky: EKU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years.

Tennessee State University: aerial[1]TSU received recognition as a Tree Campus USA for the first time in 2013. TSU is moving to become a greener campus through its campus sustainability initiative, including a thermostat setback policy and use of green cleaning chemicals.

Tohio-state-university[1]he Ohio State University: OSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. OSU’s extension is continually working to raise awareness of the social and economic benefits trees provide through its ‘Why Trees Matter’ program.

University of Iowa: UI has been designated a Tree Campus USA for five years. The University of Iowa Campus looking west from Old Capitol and the Pentacrest.UI has more than 7,700 trees on campus, and plants 300 news trees every year.

University of Louisiana Lafayette: UL Lafayette has been designated a Tree Campus USA for five years. The campus has implemented a number of green initiatives including Acorns of Hope, aLafayette,_Louisiana-Ullaf[1] joint project with local non-profit Bob’s Tree Preservation to reforest the eroding coastline of South Louisiana.

University of Louisville: University_of_Louisville,_Belknap_Campus,_from_Eastern_Parkway_overpass[1]The U of L has been designated a Tree Campus USA for four years. The campus has more than 2,500 trees and a number of programs in place to maintain its greenery.

The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the Great Plains

Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA’s. Our NCAA series continues with the following list of Tree Campus USA’s in the Great Plains region.

Creighton_mall_west[1]Creighton University: Creighton has been designated a Tree Campus USA for six years. Creighton was also recognized in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, the only Nebraska college to earn such recognition.

Kansas State University: KSU received recognition ANDERSON[1]as a Tree Campus USA for the first time in 2013. KSU’s campus is also an arboretum and offers visitors self-guided tree tours.

North Dakota State University: NDSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. The campus arboretum crew at NDSU plants 50-75 trees every year.NDSU

Oklahoma State University: OSU-Library[1]OSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years.

SLUSaint Louis University: SLU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for two years. The university has also been named a ‘Cool School’ by the Sierra Club for its commitment to sustainability.

KUUniversity of Kansas: KU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for two years.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: UNL has been designated a unlTree Campus USA for six years. The campus landscape services maintain more than 9,000 trees across the two campuses. The landscape is valued at more than $9.1 million.

The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the West

When folks think of a quality institution of higher learning, they often think of academics, athletics, and the quality of life on campus, which includes its natural beauty, of which trees play a major part. Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA’s. Our NCAA series will highlight the 2013 recognized Tree Campus USA schools as divided by region. Below is our first list of NCAA Tree Campus USA teams in the West Region.

igwKFmtSCJdY[1]Arizona State University: ASU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for six years. ASU’s Tempe campus encompasses Arizona’s largest public arboretum with more than 900 species and is nationally recognized. It’s also the oldest continually managed green space in Arizona.

campus[1]University of Arizona: The UA has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for five years. In addition, UA received a gold rating for sustainability in 2012 by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Stanford University: Stanford is new to the Tree Campus USA community, gaining recognition for the first time in 2013. location[1]The campus also recognizes ‘significant trees’ — trees selected as outstanding and deserving of special protection because of their rarity, age, or historical importance.

University of Colorado- Boulder: CU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for four years. campusphoto[1]CU isn’t only working to make their campus greener, but their stadiums too. Ralphie’s Green Stampede is a campus initiative to move toward a zero-waste football stadium, converting virtually all public food and beverage packaging to recyclable or compostable materials and containers.

Texas Southern University: TSU has been a designated Tree Campus USA for three years.TSU_SB[1]

University of Texas Austin: UT has been designated a Tree Campus USA for 6 years, University of Texas Austin campus at sunset-dusk - aerial viewand is one of the first three campuses in the nation to become a Tree Campus USA. UT’s trees are estimated to be valued at $25 million.

Weber State University: 8421682_orig[1]WSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. WSU has also been listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition for demonstrating notable commitments to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Arbor Day Foundation Leads 2nd Annual Alpha Kappa Alpha Training Session

DSC_0073Walking in to the room, anyone would have thought they had been friends for years. There was laughing, joking and a lot of posing for pictures. No one would have guessed they had all met the night before at Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Neb.

In mid-October nine Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority members gathered at Lied Lodge and Conference Center in Nebraska City, Neb. to train for their year-long internship with Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA® program. During the course of the weekend they learned more than how to increase tree awareness and sustainability efforts on their campuses, they formed lifelong connections to each other and the environment.

“This opportunity for fellowship with like-minded sisters is great,” Mueni Loko Rudd from Houston-Tillotson University said. “Learning together helps to better prepare us to achieve our goals.”

The Arbor Day Foundation partnered with AKA in 2012. AKA’s mission is “service to all mankind.” Tree Campus USA recognition requires a tree care plan, service-learning projects and Arbor Day observances. By working with Tree Campus USA, AKA members said they work to improve sustainability efforts and make the planet a better place.

“It’s an opportunity for undergraduate members of Alpha Kappa Alpha to participate in our economic sustainability initiatives and economic stewardship,” AKA President Carolyn House Steward said. “And it’s an opportunity to show others the great work that Alpha Kappa Alpha women do.”

The ambassadors came from different regions around the country, each offering a unique perspective on how trees affect their campus. From Alanna Tremble at Wayne State University in Detroit to Tayler Bolton at the University of Oklahoma, to Tori Williams at the University of California – Irvine, trees hold varying significance.

“Being located in the inner-city, trees are important because they make the campus look nice on top of providing clean air,” Tremble said.DSC_0025

Beautification is also important on Williams’ campus. While there is already a park with trees on campus, Williams said she believes there is a need for more trees on campus to distinguish it from other California schools.

“We’re part of the UC (University of California) system, but we have a park, which is something others don’t have,” said Williams. “So having trees shows something different that we offer when people come to visit.”

While beautification holds some significance for Bolton, shade is key on her campus, located in the heat of Oklahoma.

“Trees are so important because they make us want to be on campus,” Bolton said. “They provide shade. When it’s nice outside we’ll have class under trees sometimes.”

At the training in Nebraska City, the women were taken through the Tree Adventure, an interactive experience to learn about trees and their positive effects on the environment, and learned more about different types of trees, their importance in the environment and how to teach others about trees.

This walk through the Tree Adventure trails included using their senses to connect with nature. Lauren Sandoval, Trees Atlanta education coordinator, led the walk. She encouraged the women to stop and feel the bark of trees and listen to the sounds of rustling leaves, singing birds and walnuts falling. They also stopped and tried to sketch what they saw.

“Taking a moment to sketch was something that was very natural,” Selena Gaddy from Georgia Southern University said. “It’s about appreciating the beauty we overlook day to day.”

Many of the ambassadors expressed an interest in bringing a similar experience back to their own campuses to connect students to the nature around them.

The hike concluded with lunch, apple picking and a tree-planting demonstration. For most of the ambassadors this was their first tree planting and offered them an opportunity to learn how to do it properly and share that with their campuses.

These nine ambassadors will take everything they learned in Nebraska City back to their campus and cultivate dedication to trees that will continue past their year-long internship.DSC_0039

“They can make a difference by getting others interested in environmental stewardship,” Stewart said. “I hope that it is going to be a lifelong learning experience for them.”



Tree Campus USA Event Helps Replant Tree Canopy Lost to Asian Longhorn Beetle

tree-campus-usaThe Tree Campus USA program will be sponsoring a tree-planting event, Tuesday, Oct. 22, in Worcester, Massachusetts, where Worcester State University, Becker College and College of the Holy Cross will be receiving Tree Campus USA recognition. Volunteers from the colleges and surrounding community will also be planting 41 trees to help the Worcester Tree Initiative in their goal to plant 30,000 trees by 2014.

“We are excited about this Tree Campus USA project because it brings all the universities together to work on the reforestation of Worcester. (The reforestation) is a big project and having the universities involved in a big part of that. They already do a lot around taking care of trees and it is important the community knows that.” – Peggy Middaugh, Director, Worcester Tree Initiative

This city-wide event will celebrate Worcester’s replanting efforts following an Asian Longhorn Beetle infestation that wiped out nearly all the city’s trees 10 years ago. There will also be an information fair before the event to educate the community on the benefits of trees, local tree-planting and sustainability initiatives.

The event is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Worcester Tree Initiative, GreenerU and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“I think a lot of campuses are already doing a lot for tree planting and tree care and Tree Campus USA further incentivizes and formalizes that commitment to trees.” – Lea Lupkin, Sustainability Program Manager, GreenerU

Oregon Department of Forestry: Trees benefit business districts

State foresters often have their hands full with managing public woodlands miles away from the nearest home or business. But it’s becoming more common to hear them tout the numerous benefits of urban forestry, whether they work directly with cities or not.

Downtown-EugeneCynthia Orlando, a certified arborist with the Oregon Department of Forestry, makes the case for urban forestry in general and the pluses to commercial areas in particular in an op-ed in the Statesman Journal.

The research points to substantial long-term gains in commercial areas with ample street trees. U.S. Forest Service studies have found $2.70 in benefits for every $1 invested in city trees, and Orlando also points to University of Washington research showing increased foot-traffic in tree-lined commercial areas.

There’s also the qualitative element. What kind of attributes are people looking for in a business district? Orlando writes:

Healthy trees send positive messages about the appeal of a district, the quality of products there and what customer service a shopper can expect — they’re an important component of any program to attract shoppers and visitors

Portland received well-deserved attention for its growing tree canopy, but many of Oregon’s smaller cities have exciting programs as well. Oregon State University in Corvalis is the first and only Tree Campus USA in the state. Salem and Eugene (pictured above) are both drawing new housing and business to their forested downtown.

Find out more about urban and community forestry in Oregon here.

Photo courtesy of Oregon Attractions

Tree culture makes the list for keys to stronger community

Numbering things has indeed become a tradition – some would say an overused one – in nonfiction writing, as Kaid Benfield points out, but it’s the content of said lists that should catch our attention rather their numeric ordering.

Writing for the Atlantic Cities, Benfield made note of a list – yes, a numbered one – produced by Scott Doyon, a principal at a respected planning firm, that surveyed the “seven keys to stronger community.”

While some scoff at the advice of planners and developers, they know what they’re talking about when it comes to what makes an area desirable.

One of Doyon’s items is parks and gardens. “For compact, walkable communities to thrive, they need contrast,” he wrote. “They need the intensity of human settlement to be offset by areas for recharge — both environmental and emotional.”

It’s an important point, and one more and more Americans are making by voting with their feet – they want to live in a community where the green balances out the gray.

Urban forestry is often lumped together with parks in discussions about community development, even though they sometimes meet different needs. Doyon, however, identifies tree culture as an item onto itself. His message: strong communities pursue the dual goals of protecting existing canopy while planting anew. A culture of trees also brings neighbors together and forms meaningful partnerships.

Benfield likes the list – though he would put trees and parks in the same category. He also made note of pushback from a reader who thought “good urbanism” was more important than green space.

From our perspective, it’s hard to picture any definition of positive urban development that doesn’t include a prominent role for parks and tree canopy. To be sure, other elements such as mixed-use development, transit options and proximity to jobs do a lot to bring people together and strengthen community. But to fully realize the benefits of new development – particularly, more dense projects in cities – trees cannot be dismissed.

Students plant trees at a Tree City Campus USA event at Georgia State University in Atlanta earlier this month.

Two fall Tree Campus USA events down, three left to go

Earlier this month, the Foundation was in Boulder, where students and staff at the University of Colorado experienced the challenges and opportunities of urban forestry first-hand, planting 40 laurel oaks along the interface between the campus and a major city thoroughfare.

On Monday, we were in the Valley Glen neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley to plant trees at Los Angeles Valley College, the first community college and first Southern California institution to participate in the Tree Campus USA program.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE, helped with the event, which resulted in 30 new trees on the north mall of the urban campus.

The Foundation will be in Dover, Delaware, for a tree planting at Delaware State University on Tuesday, October 30. LaSalle University in Philadelphia will plant trees on November 1, and Georgia State University in Atlanta will hold their event November 10.

These events are terrific way for current or future Tree Campus USA participants to step up their commitment to conservation and give service-minded students a chance to roll up their sleeves and do something positive for the campus community. We appreciate having Toyota as a continued partner in our effort to grow the next generation of environmental stewards.

We hope, too, that these events will inspire even more colleges and universities to take the steps needed to qualify for Tree Campus USA as we begin accepting applications for 2012.

Information on First-year applications and recertifications is available here.

We put this video about the University of Pennsylvania together after an event there in 2010.