College and University campuses provide a unique opportunity to get students, faculty and staff involved in education about and protection of trees.
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. the status was awarded earlier this month by the Arbor Day Foundation.
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, absorbing CO2, providing shade in summer (lowering temperatures inside nearby buildings), providing windbreaks in winter (decreasing heating requirements), beautifying the campus, and creating 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.