Students under trees

Ohio University students gather under the cherry trees on the Athens Campus.

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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Ohio University named a Tree Campus USA

For the first time in the institution’s history, Ohio University has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The designation is awarded to two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities that meet or exceed the five standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation relating to tree care and stewardship, education and community engagement. 

“Several partners, including the Grounds Services team and Office of Sustainability came together to complete the Tree Campus USA application and we are so excited that OHIO has been recognized,” said Annie Laurie Cadmus, director of sustainability. “This designation is a reflection of the work of many across the University to expand our tree care program, establish a Tree Advisory Committee and support the sustainable goals of the campus.” 

Landscape Coordinator Susan Calhoun and Kristeena Blaser, an Office of Sustainability graduate assistant and master’s student in the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs’ environmental studies program, worked to assemble the Tree Campus USA application for OHIO, documenting the University’s tree care plan, details of the annual Arbor Day celebration and work of the OHIO Athens Campus Tree Advisory Committee

“The Tree Campus USA designation adds weight to the value placed on preserving our campus tree canopy,” Calhoun said. “The documentation requirement identifies and quantifies the valuable resources that have been and hopefully will continue to be committed to this important program. Work planned for 2017 will be the ongoing removal of dying Ash trees across campus – trees that are not part of the treatment program – and replacement with a diversity of species.” 

In its application, OHIO demonstrated completion of the following five Tree Campus USA standards: 

  1. Campus Tree Advisory Committee – A Campus Tree Advisory Committee comprised of members representing the diverse audience of those with a stake in campus trees is established and meets regularly.
  2. Campus Tree Care Plan – The Tree Care Plan should be goal oriented and provide the opportunity to set good policy and clear guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees. It also provides education to the campus community, citizens, contractors, and consultants about the importance of the campus forest and the protection and maintenance of trees as part of the growth and land development process.
  3. Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures – A college campus, to be designated a Tree Campus USA, must allocate finances for its annual campus tree program.
  4. Arbor Day Observance – An Arbor Day observance provides a golden opportunity to educate the campus community on the benefits of the trees on their campus property and in the community.
  5. Service Learning Project – The Service Learning Project should provide an opportunity to engage the student population with projects related to trees and can be part of a campus or community initiative. 

The University received its formal designation at a ceremony held by Marietta College on April 21. There, Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA designations from throughout Southeast Ohio were recognized. The City of Athens received its 28th Tree City USA designation during that ceremony. 

The Tree Campus USA Program helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests. Tree Campus USA is facilitated by the Arbor Day Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit conservation and education organization that seeks to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. For more information, visit