Are Trees A Focus For Your Healthcare Facility?

For the second year, the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare program will recognize healthcare facility campuses fostering community wellness through tree planting, education, and engagement.

Tree canopy is a critical component of community health infrastructure — but urban tree cover is shrinking, and its health benefits are not often equitably distributed. This situation is being recognized and addressed by the Arbor Day Foundation. Is your healthcare facility campus working to create natural, tree-filled spaces where staff, patients, and your community can find respite?healthcare facility

In April 2020, 16 hospitals across the United States were recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation’s first-ever Tree Campus Healthcare facilities program. The healthcare institutions earned this recognition by demonstrating a commitment to improving community wellness through tree planting, education, and community engagement at their campus. Now, the Arbor Day Foundation is accepting applications for the second year.

To learn more or to begin applying your healthcare facility for the next crop of Tree Campus Healthcare facilities, check out the application at the Arbor Day Foundation website. Returning applicants can log in to their existing account and first-time applicants may create an account. From there, save your progress as you go between now and December 31, 2020.

To be recognized as a Tree Campus Healthcare facility, five program standards must be fulfilled:

Standard 1: Advisory Committee. Each qualifying facility or campus will have an Advisory Committee with at least three members, from among the following groups: healthcare providers, facility or grounds managers, administrators, patient advocates, residents, and community forestry advocates or officials.

Standard 2: Facility Tree Care Plan. Qualifying plans will set policies that govern management practices, both for staff and contractors. For facilities with little or no space for trees on their own property due to site restrictions, facilities may adopt the street, boulevard, or park trees near or adjacent to the campus.

Standard 3: Community Forestry Project. The facility will lead one or more community forestry projects during the year, including tree planting, tree maintenance, tree inventory, tree monitoring, or other practices in the community. Activities may occur on private or public property, and involve either employees or volunteers, so long as community residents benefit from the project.

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Last year, the Medical University of South Carolina was one of 16 healthcare facilities recognized in the Tree Campus Healthcare program. (Photo: Arbor Day Foundation)

Standard 4: Celebrate & Educate. The facility will sponsor at least one celebration event — such as Arbor Day — or an awareness campaign that highlights the connection between trees, nature, and human health.

Standard 5: Financial Investment. The suggested annual financial investment towards implementation of the facility tree care plan, tree projects, education events, and community outreach by the facility is $2 per employee (Full-Time Equivalent), either as cash or in-kind contribution, or in combination.

See list of the 16 facilities recognized by this program in April 2020.

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.

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