Southern Utah University was recently honored with the 2015 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Southern Utah University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
“The Tree Campus USA® designation is important to SUU as it underscores our commitment to one of the key elements which is traditionally considered a high-impact visual part of a campus - the trees,” said Tiger Funk, SUU’s executive director for facilities management. “The Arbor Day Foundation's recognition of SUU's efforts has validated the fact that our grounds department has been doing the right thing by investing in our tree inventory of over 1600 trees on campus and managing the trees in a manner that is recognized as the industry's best practices.”
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $36.8 million in campus forest management last year. Currently there are 254 campus across the United States with this recognition.
Funk went on to say that SUU’s grounds staff and Tree Board have established a tree care plan which lays out how decisions related to the tree inventory will be made, including tree care standards and future goals. “By having this plan in place, we are able to manage our inventory in a manner that has become a model worthy of the Arbor Day Foundation's recognition.”
Trees benefit the university campus in many ways: including aesthetics, noise mitigation, CO2 consumption, shade for personal comfort, energy savings and erosion control. “The large trees that we enjoy on campus didn't just happen, instead they are the result of many that came before us with a vision for the future of SUU,” said Funk.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.