AASHE, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, a three year partner of the Arbor Day Foundation, is encouraging its member campuses across the country to plant trees this spring.
AASHE has been a partner and supporter of the Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program, which awards national recognition to colleges and universities for effective community forestry management, since 2009. The events take place in March and April and are intended to help even more campuses meet sustainability goals through planting and caring for existing trees.
Campuses hosting events include Colorado State University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Purdue University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Illinois Chicago, and Virginia Commonwealth University.
Currently, 91 Tree Campus USAs are also AASHE members, and 28 of those institutions have used their Tree Campus USA recognition to earn credits toward AASHE’s STARS certification, a standard for sustainability in higher education.
“We’re gratified to be working with AASHE on bringing the spirit of conservation to college students throughout the country,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Planting and properly caring for trees is a key element of any campus sustainability effort.”
“Our partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation has allowed us to expand our services to campus sustainability officers,” according to Paul Rowland, AASHE executive director. “The new efforts that recognize tree planting on campus serve multiple purposes, from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to creating safe and healthy areas for relaxation and reflection.”
Campuses throughout the country are currently applying and beginning to undergo review for the Tree Campus USA program, with the number of participating colleges and universities expected to increase to more than 150 campuses. Tree Campus USA is sponsored by a grant from Toyota.
To earn Tree Campus USA recognition, schools must meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement:
- Establish a campus tree advisory committee
- Demonstrate evidence of a campus tree care plan
- Maintain dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree care plan
- Celebrate Arbor Day
- Sponsor a service-learning project
Recently Recognized Schools in TX and IN
The Arbor Day Foundation has designated the University of North Texas as a 2011 Tree Campus USA University. This is the fourth year in a row UNT has earned the honor. “We’re honored to earn designation as a Tree Campus USA for the fourth year in a row,” said Lanse Fullinwider, UNT’s grounds manager. “The abundance of trees on our campus are an immediate, visible reminder of UNT’s history of strong environmental programs. Trees provide innumerable environmental benefits, and they bring great distinction to our campus.”
IU-Bloomington was also named a 2011 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the fourth year IU has received this designation. University Landscape Architect Mia Williams said the biggest accomplishment is the fact that IU is one of the only campuses to receive the designation since the program was launched in 2008. “It represents to me an ongoing commitment from IU on trees,” she said. “It speaks to the long-term commitment the University has to the woodland campus.”