Ohio University

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Published: February 21, 2019 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University has once again been designated as a “Tree Campus USA” location by the Arbor Day Foundation.

The honor, which OHIO has now received three years in a row, recognizes colleges and universities that meet or exceed the five standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation, including tree care and stewardship, education and community engagement.

The honor will be celebrated formally in April, along with several other recognized cities and universities across Southeast Ohio.

“Maintaining a healthy population of trees is one way we can preserve and enhance our sustainable campus environment,” Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis said. “Our campus’ diverse population of trees is not only beautiful – they serve as a reminder of Ohio University’s firm commitment to a healthy, sustainable environment.”

The Athens Campus is home to thousands of tree species across its landscape. The trees are managed by the University’s Facilities department with oversight and advice from the OHIO University Tree Advisory Committee. In order to achieve the Tree Campus USA designation, the University was required to meet the following 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. 

OHIO accomplished numerous tree-planting initiatives during 2018, including the addition of 13 native shade trees (Oak, Sycamore, Black Gum and Maple) planted at Bicentennial Park in the late fall. An additional 80 new tree plantings, with particular focus on providing increased parking lot shading and slope stabilization, took place across campus as well.

One unique project, funded by Housing and Residence Life, focused on the removal of invasive species and replanting of native trees and understory plants along the east-facing slopes from Shively to Jefferson hill. Non-native vines were removed to release existing trees, while native trees such as Eastern Hemlock, Yellow Buckeye, Fringetree, Redbud, Dogwood and Paw Paw were added. Additional native shrubs and perennials flanking the steps leading to Bryan Hall will provide colorful spring and summer blooms and food for pollinator insects and birds.

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 www.arborday.org.