University Landscape Architect Mia Williams said the biggest accomplishment is the fact that IU is one of the only campuses to receive the designation since the program was launched in 2008.
“It represents to me an ongoing commitment from IU on trees,” she said. “It speaks to the long-term commitment the University has to the woodland campus.”
The Arbor Day Foundation will honor more than 150 college campuses this year for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in conservation.
“It recognizes a campus effort to sustain campus and maintain trees,” said Sean Barry, director of media relations for the Arbor Day Foundation. “We wanted to encourage students to be involved in the effort.”
Each college must meet the required five standards to be named a Tree Campus USA. The standards are forming a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program, having an Arbor Day observance and sponsoring student service learning projects.
“I was pleased and proud of the commitment of staff and students to the process, and we were recognized and awarded with designation as a Tree Campus USA,”
IU filled out an application to be named a Tree Campus USA. However, the committee that fills out the application wanted to make their responses meant something more this year, Williams said.
“We wanted to document to tell the story of IU-Bloomington and the care and love of trees,” she said. “We wanted to crank it up a notch this year.”
Barry said one of the program’s goals is to ensure campus forestry is sustained.
“We want it to be enjoyed by students today but also 20 or 50 years from now,” he said. “It is a great thing to be a part of.”
During 2011, the Arbor Day Foundation and its sponsor, Toyota, helped campuses plant 30,000 trees. The Tree Campus USA colleges invested more than $22 million in campus forest management.
Although a specific date has yet to be decided, IU is planning to celebrate Arbor Day and the Tree Campus USA designation in the spring, like in previous years.
“The entire campus should be proud of the designation,” Williams said. “We all experience campus and appreciate the beauty of the woodland campus. A lot of students take time to care for the trees and it is something we should share in.”
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