This spring, the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized 16 hospitals across the United States as its first-ever Tree Campus Healthcare facilities. The healthcare institutions earned this recognition by demonstrating a commitment to improving community wellness through tree planting, education, and community engagement.
“We applaud these facilities who are leading the way in improving the health and wellness of their communities through trees,” said Dan Lambe, President, the Arbor Day Foundation. “We’re grateful to our collaborators like Practice Greenhealth and our professional partner The Davey Tree Expert Company for sharing our vision of raising awareness of the role of trees in the global future of health and supporting the growth of the program.”
Recognized healthcare facilities demonstrated a profound understanding of the intersection of nature and human health through activities like distributing free trees to community members and using trees to create therapeutic landscapes on campus. Each facility met five program standards throughout the year:
- Formation of an advisory committee;
- Development of a tree care plan;
- Participation in a community forestry project;
- Sponsorship of a celebration event or education campaign; and
- A suggested commitment to financial investment in tree projects, education events, and/or community outreach.
“Participating in the Tree Campus Healthcare program is an integral part of our strategy to invest in the health and well-being of the population we serve,” said Jon Utech, Senior Director, Office for a Healthy Environment at Cleveland Clinic. “We want to inspire other health providers to join us, as tree planting is critical to keeping our cities cool, improving the quality of our air and water, and enhancing both the beauty and climate resilience of our neighborhoods.”
Recognized facilities include:
- UAB Hospital (AL)
- Masonic Homes Kentucky (KY) (pictured above)
- UK Healthcare (KY)
- Perry Point Veterans Affairs Medical Center (MD)
- Spectrum Health Blodgett Hospital (MI)
- Atrium Health Mercy (NC)
- Parkland Medical Center (NH)
- Cleveland Clinic (OH)
- The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OH)
- Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PA)
- Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (PA)
- The Medical University of South Carolina (SC)
- CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital – Tyler (TX)
- Seattle Children’s Hospital (WA)
- Amery Hospital and Clinic (WI)
- Westfields Hospital and Clinic (WI)
Research shows that patient interaction with green space, gardens, parks, and natural areas helps the human condition. Trees specifically can improve respiratory health, lower urban temperatures, improve mental health, and provide restorative properties.
The Tree Campus Healthcare program is made possible through financial support from professional partner The Davey Tree Expert Company and the collaboration of the Professional Grounds Management Society, Practice Greenhealth, and the USDA Forest Service. Interested inpatient healthcare facilities may apply for 2020 recognition this fall.