April 05, 2015
In the fall of 2014 the Campus Tree Care Committee, a subcommittee of the UC Sustainability Committee, applied for Tree Campus USA status for Ursinus College. In April 2015 we found out that we had been awarded this status by the Arbor Day Foundation. The ADF started Tree Campus USA in 2008 to promote the protection of trees on campuses in the United States. College and University campuses provide a unique opportunity to get students, faculty and staff involved in education about and protection of trees.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the ADF, and sponsored by Toyota, to honor colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and for engaging staff and students in conservation on campus. Ursinus College was awarded the title for meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree-care plan and dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, and holding an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
Trees are critical to our environment. They function as carbon sinks (i.e., they absorb CO2), provide shade in summer (lowering temperatures inside nearby buildings), provide windbreaks in winter (decreasing heating requirements), beautify the campus, and they provide oxygen for us to breathe. Ursinus has a wide variety of trees – hundreds of species – on our campus. Environmental Studies faculty and students have undertaken tree protection and education initiatives, including tree plantings and a campus-wide tree inventory. They have also partnered with the Borough of Collegeville on tree and rain garden plantings in neighboring Hunsberger Woods. Last year, it came to the attention of Sustainability staff members that we have a third generation Penn Friendship Treaty Elm tree on campus. We have created a webpage on our website dedicated to educating our campus community about our special historic tree. (put in link)
Requirements for Tree Campus USA status are as follows:
- Campus Tree Advisory Committee must be active on campus.
- Campus Tree Care Plan. We have a plan that was written and approved by our Campus Tree Care Committee.
- Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures.
- Arbor Day observance on the campus (we celebrated late: in November).
- Service Learning Project (we had tree plantings and we participated in the PWC cleanup in April)
We are delighted to be part of the group of campuses that value their trees in this way. We will be hosting our Arbor Day festivities this year during Earth Week (late April). Please stay tuned to our website or check out our bi-weekly newsletter, Office of Sustainability Bear Prints, for more information.