Tennessee Tech’s campus is recognized as a 2018 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the first time in university history. Tech joins nine other colleges and universities across the state with the designation.
The certification was announced during a ceremony Friday morning in front of the T.J. Farr building, where one of the campus’ oldest trees stands.
“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies, but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of your school’s participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”
The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
“We worked on our Tree Campus USA application for about six months,” said DeLayne Miller, sustainability manager. “It was a joint effort by faculty, staff and students. Our receiving this recognition is a confirmation to Tennessee Tech’s commitment to campus sustainability and maintaining campus green space, even with the construction of new buildings.”
The university, through the Office of Sustainability, has met five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Friday’s event also marks the completion of a project in which 270+ trees recently planted on campus, thanks to a grant from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The university also sponsors a clean-up of a segment of the Tennessee Central Trail three to four times a year.
One of the required service learning projects involves the installation of more than 200 tree signs to educate the public on various tree species. Native and non-native trees have been identified throughout campus. A walking tour is being created to encourage students and members of the community to view the trees on campus.
Last summer, a campus tree inventory was created, identifying trees and their locations using GPS coordinates. That information can be used by the Tennessee Tech School of Agriculture and Department of Biology for classes related to the study of trees.
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees. Participating colleges and universities have also invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year.
More information about the program is available at arborday.org/treecampusUSA.