Arbor Day Foundation gives Tree Campus USA® Award

Published: May 03, 2017 | Author: Abigail Wyatt | Read Time: 2 minutes

Tree Campus USA 2016 Award goes to Southern Utah UniversitySouthern Utah University was recently awarded the 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

With over 2,100 trees, and plans to add 136 more this year, SUU’s campus is more than worthy of the Arbor Day Foundation's recognition.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Southern Utah University has been recognized two consecutive years for meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.

“We take a lot of pride in all our work to beautify campus, but especially in our trees,” said Chris Gale, SUU’s director for grounds and gardens. “They make our campus a more welcoming and an environmentally friendly place.”

“The Arbor Day Foundation's recognition of SUU's efforts has validated the fact that our grounds department has been doing the right thing by investing in our trees on campus and managing them in a manner that is recognized as the industry's best practices,” said Tiger Funk, SUU’s executive director for facilities management.

Funk’s team established a tree care plan which lays out how decisions related to the tree inventory will be made, including tree care standards and future goals. As a way to track and maintain SUU’s tree inventory, a campus service-learning project was created. About 20 volunteers used a GIS based smartphone app to collect data on size, species, location and condition of all campus trees. This in-depth tree analysis is a powerful tool in managing a population of trees making it easier to locate sick or hazardous trees and prioritize maintenance efforts.

Andrew Lloyd, an aviation student from Cottonwood, Arizona, heard about the service project and wanted to help. “The project was well organized and everything was clearly explained,” said Lloyd. “I know it’ll benefit the campus because now the grounds crew knows where every tree is and what work they need to do.”

Trees benefit the university campus in many ways including erosion prevention, windbreak, noise mitigation, CO2 consumption, filter pollutants, shade for personal comfort and energy saving. They also offer historical perspective.

“Campus trees are the result of those who came before is with a vision for the future,” said Funk. “Next time you see an old photograph of campus, notice the small trees. Then go outside and look how they’ve grown.” 

About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. The Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees. Currently there are 296 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

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