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OHIO Athens Campus is a Tree Campus USA!


Ohio University Grounds Department, with support from the Office of Sustainabilty, received the Tree Campus USA Designation by the Arbor Day Foundation for the third year in a row.  The University received word of its designation for calendary year 2018 and will be honored at the annual awards reception in April 2019.  The University also received the designation in 2017 and 2016.

Cherry Tree

The following pages provide supplementary details regarding the University's progress in fulfilling the Arbor Day Foundation's five standards for application completion: 


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Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee

(est. July 28, 2015)

Large Tree

The mission and purpose of the Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee centers upon five roles:

1. Providing support to the Grounds Department in their planning for, education about and maintenance of campus trees. This can take the form of research, reporting, advocacy or fundraising, as appropriate or desired by the Landscape Coordinator.

2. Development of community-wide programming and outreach that illustrates that campus trees create connectivity to the community. This is to be accomplished through Arbor Day event planning (can be held on Arbor Day or throughout the year, as appropriate for the academic calendar).

3. Updating, publishing and advocating for the implementation of the Campus Tree Care Plan.

4. Managing annual service learning projects and academic coursework to provide an opportunity to engage the student population with campus trees. Projects should follow the criteria established by the Tree Campus USA Standards through the Arbor Day Foundation.

5. Coordination of the annual submission of resources for certification as a Tree Campus USA. 


The Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee therefore seeks to contribute to environmental well-being and the achievement of a more sustainable future through conservation of campus trees. In carrying out these roles, the Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee will communicate and partner with the Ohio University and Athens communities to raise awareness of positive and negative efforts that respectively promote or deter the health of campus trees and associated canopy cover.


Changes to this committee’s mission and purpose must be made by a majority vote at an official Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee meeting. Emergency changes can be made via vote by email.

Student Tree Inventory, October 2015


Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee Composition

In accordance with requirements established by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program, this committee must include, at minimum, a representative from each of the following campus constituencies:

  • Office of Sustainability (any member of the full-time staff)
  • Landscape Coordinator (as a representative of Facilities Management)
  • Student (undergraduate or graduate)
  • Faculty
  • Community (preferably Regional Urban Forester with ODNR’s Division of Forestry)
  • Additional members or guests as deemed appropriate

Membership is managed jointly by the Office of Sustainability and the Grounds Department. The composition of this committee may be changed at any time by the Office of Sustainability or the Landscape Coordinator (or his/her representative) to remain in compliance with the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program and to adequately support the Grounds Department at Ohio University.

Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee Meetings

Meetings of this committee will be held at least twice per academic semester (a minimum of 4 times total per calendar year). Frequency of meetings can be increased should planning for fulfilling the five roles listed above require such. 

Membership Roster, 2018: 

  • Susan Calhoun, Landscape Coordinator
  • Mathew Riley, Utility Engineering Technician
  • James Dyer, Geography Faculty and Chair
  • Jackie Kloepfer, Research Associate 
  • Meg Little, Tree Care Coordinator

Standard 2- Tree Care Plan

Ohio University Campus Tree Care Plan

The full plan is available in  PDF  format.

Ohio University Tree Campus USA Application

Ohio University Campus Tree and Landscape Care Procedures

Latest Version Established October 29, 2018

The purpose of this Campus Tree and Landscape Care Procedure is to:

1.)     Protect the campus canopy cover by ensuring that decisions involving the removal of all trees on campus are given proper consideration and to ensure tree replacement as a priority.

2.)     Protect campus trees by mitigating the impact of development and construction with regard to campus trees as well as to promote tree health through maintenance practices that follow the International Society of Arboriculture’s best management practices.

3.)     Provide the Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee with the approved Ohio University Grounds Services tree care procedures on campus.

The responsibility of enacting the Campus Tree and Landscape Care Procedures rests with Ohio University’s Grounds Services, a division of Ohio University Facilities Management and Safety, with financial and supervisory support from Facilities Management and Safety.

The Campus Tree and Landscape Care Plan includes detailed criteria for the following categories:

  • S ustainable Land scape Mana gement
  • Landscape Materials Management
  • Soil Management:
  • Fertilizer and Herbicides
  • Ice-Melt/Salt application
  • Mowing
  • Watering
  • T ree Planting and Selection
  • Mulching
  • Current Architecture, Design and Construction Tree Protection Standards
  • Proposed Additional Tree Protection and Preservation Policies and Procedures
  • Activities to Avoid in the Care of Mature Trees
  • Hazard and Emergency Tree Removal
  • Managing for Catastrophic Events
  • Design Standards
  • Communication Strategy
  • Terminology



Student Tree Inventory, October 2015


Student Tree Inventory, October 2015



Student Tree Inventory, October 2015


Standard 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. Evidence should be shown that an annual work plan has been established and expenditures dedicated towards that work plan.

It is suggested, but not mandatory, that campuses work towards an annual expenditure of $3 per full-time enrolled student.

Tree Expenditures 2015


Standard 4-Arbor Day Observance


2016 Events:

During the week of April 17th – April 24th, Ohio University’s Office of Sustainability put together an Earth Week Fest, which was titled Earth Week Extravaganza. The Office of Sustainability partnered with many organizations in the Athens area to put together several opportunities for community members and students to celebrate Earth Week. Events which included:

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016

Graffiti Wall Earth Week 2016


On Wednesday, the day of the main event, the celebration started with a event on the lawn in front of Walter Hall, where the Office of Sustainability members set up a cornhole, face painting, hula hoops, and a table with free seedlings to be given out! The free seedlings came with a pot to transplant them into, a well as organic soil, and water to moisten the soil. 

student planting earth day 2016 student planting earth day 2016

OoS Staff with Food Plants Earth Day 2016

Following the events on Walter Hall lawn, the Earth Day Celebration continued with an event in Walter Hall Rotunda from 5pm– 7pm. The doors for the event opened at 5, followed by the keynote speaker, Sarah Conley-Ballew, Director of Upgrade Athens County, at 5:15.

Keynote Speaker Earth Day 2016

At 5:45 sustainability awards were given out to members of the community, students, faculty and staff. This Sustainability Recognition Program is an effort to appropriately recognize Ohio University community members for their contributions to a diverse set of sustainable behaviors on all of OHIO’s campuses during the current fiscal year.­ The individuals and groups nominated and recognized are integral in the advancement of the implementation of the Ohio University Sustainability Plan and Climate Action Plan.­ It is recommended that all nominees are familiar with these plans as they are the basis of evaluation for award winners.­ These awards are open to all OHIO faculty, staff or students on any of Ohio University’s campuses.  The Innovation Recognition is also open to community groups. The awards included:

-Faculty Sustainability Research & Advocacy Award

-Student Sustainability Leader(s) Award

-Staff Sustainability Advocate Award

-Exemplary Sustainable Department Awar

-Residential Housing Sustainability Award

-Office of Sustainability Student Leadership Award (Peer Review)

-Innovation Recognition

Sustainability Awards Earth Day 2016

Following the Sustainability Awards there was a Sustainability Open House, for individuals who are involved with sustainability projects around the community of Athens. Each entity was given a table to showcase their sustainability project. Some of the projects included: food waste audit, sustainable textiles, sustainability website dashboard, sustainable walking tours, and sustainable study aboard trips. One of the projects included a map denoting where trees were planted on Ohio University’s Athens campus during the 2015 year. 2015 was a record year for tree plantings at Ohio University, Susan Calhoun, Ohio University’s Grounds Coordinator, partnered with David Simon, a Planning Analyst in the Space Management Department, to create a map that denotes the areas on campus where the 274 trees planted in 2015, could be found. Furthermore, Susan Calhoun donated tree saplings to the Office of Sustainability to be handed out during the Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration. These saplings were given to community members, faculty and staff, as well as students to plant in their yards at home. This was a huge hit among attendees, all the saplings found new homes during the two hour event.

2015 Tree Plantings Map



2015 Events:

Ohio University chose to celebrate trees in a variety of ways this past year. Since the Tree Campus USA Standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation state that celebrations can occur “at an appropriate time for your campus,” we chose to host various events throughout the year. Since Arbor Day (the final Friday of April) is, typically, immediately after Earth Day and at the end of the semester, Ohio University opted to perform its Arbor Day celebrations outside of the actual date of Arbor Day…

  • April, 2015: Cherry Tree Blossoms. Ohio University is home to a large grove of cherry trees along the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. This iconic view of campus is celebrated annually by lighting the trees and providing the campus community with the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of these resources
  • April 20, 2015: Radio celebration. In celebration of the upcoming Arbor Day, local nature photographer and activist Daniel Caron discussed taking time to spend with nature on an Ohio University-sponsored radio show. 
  • April 22, 2015: Earth Day celebrations. At that event, the University celebrated its many sustainable attributes, including an appreciation for campus trees. In fact, trees were highlighted in a variety of ways, including a recycled art installation and mention of trees during the Earth Day speech. 

Recycled Art, Tree, Earth Day 2015

  • June 19, 2015: Tree Tour. Ohio University hosted an Athens Campus tree tour with Ohio Department of Natural Resources Regional Urban Forester Ann Bonner . Bonner will led the walk around campus to explore the history, heritage and function of Ohio University's urban forest and teach participants how to properly care for trees to help extend their services.  
  • July 21, 2015: Outreach and Education. Ohio University worked to educate the campus community about the valuable resource of its trees by developing an informative news article that was highlighted in the campus-wide e-newsletter and online news service, Compass.  
  • August 2015: Outreach and Education.  Professional signs were made and posted near the University’s cherry trees to educate the campus community about the fragility of these particular trees. This was done in an effort to discourage destructive behavior and encourage ongoing support of these campus resources.  

Cherry Tree Care Signage


Standard Five-Service Learning Projects

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, "The Service Learning Project should be an outreach of the spirit of the Tree Campus USA initiative. This 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 project must be done within the course of the year application is submitted."

Project 1: Student-Led Tree Inventory

This is a student-led initiative with support received from Grounds, Facilities Management, Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs, and the Office of Sustainability.  

In the fall of 2015, a student-led mini-tree inventory was conducted on the trees surrounding the Convocation Center on Ohio University’s Athens campus. The project was led by graduate student Kristeena Blaser, who was accompanied by four fellow students from the Masters of Environmental Studies graduate program. The students were divided into groups three groups of two and then assigned a pre-determined section of the area surrounding the Convocation Center. Kristeena partnered with Landscape Coordinator, Susan Calhoun, to complete her designated area. The students were given maps of their assigned areas and an information sheet that included the following data the students would need to provide for each tree: an identification number; common name; Latin name; diameter at breast height; location description, and; any additional comments. The students were asked to photo document the trees, their leaves, and any fruit on the tree as well as any type of injury that the tree may have. Kristeena put together a tree pamphlet that listed the thirteen mostly likely types of trees to find in the area around the Convocation Center to help the students with the identification process. The students completed their sections in early November 2015, at which points Kristeena then collected the data sheets and maps from the students to begin analyzing the data.

data sheet for tree survey

Above: A sample of the data sheet provided to the students who engaged in the Tree Inventory Service Learning project near the Convocation Center in Fall 2015.

Below: The area surveyed for the Mini Tree Inventory Service Learning Project in Fall 2015 was the perimeter of the Convocation Center on the Athens Campus.

convo map for tree survey

At the start of the following semester in January 2016, Kristeena input all the available data in an excel sheet to centralize the data. It was discovered there were 167 trees in the area directly surrounding the Convocation Center. Furthermore, there were twelve different species of trees identified by the students including: Freeman Maple, Sweetgum, Sugar Maple, Red Maple, Crab Apple, Cornelian Cherry, Hackberry, White Pine, Pin Oak, Hawthorn, London Plane Tree, and Dogwood.


Below: An example of the numbering process that occurred for each tree surveyed in the Tree Inventory Service Learning Project.

tree from convo tree survey

To complete the project, the data was added to an ArcGIS map by Kristeena to be used as an informational tool when presenting before organizations, classes, student population, or administrators. This map will be used in a project that commenced in the Fall 2016: the Native Species Project, which is a partnership between MSES student Kristeena Blaser and the Undergraduate Student Senate Environmental Commissioner, Sarah Pinter. The objectives of the Native Species Project are outlined on the following page.

Project 2: Native Species Project

Sarah Pinter, the Environmental Commissioner of Undergraduate Student Senate, and Kristeena Blaser, a graduate student in the Masters of Science in Environmental Studies Program and the Tree Care Coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, have partnered to work on a project to promote the continued planting of native species on Ohio University’s campus. They will begin giving presentations to students, faculty, staff, student organizations and other entities about the importance of native plants, the on-going initiative to plant native species on campus,, and the effort to remove invasive species whenever possible. The goals of this project are:

1. Ensure that all newly developed landscaping on the Ohio University Athens campus are planted and maintained with species native to Southeast Ohio and to ensure that such mandates are outlined in the Ohio University Tree and Landscape Care Procedures and the Ohio University Design Standards.

2. To replace exotic plants on campus with native species where necessary

3. To remove invasive species wherever possible

4. To establish relationships with student organizations and/or classes to monitor and maintain these sites.

Examples of Species Native to Southeast Ohio:

native species project native species project native species project

Latin Name: Helathius x laetiflorus  Latin Name: Cercis canadensis Latin Name: Asimina triloba

Common Name: Cheerful Sunflower Common Name: Red Bud  Common Name: Pawpaw

or Perennial Sunflower


Project 3: Education and Outreach Efforts

In 2016, in an effort to more meaningfully engage the campus community in the tree efforts happening on campus, the Ohio University Grounds Department established an ongoing marketing campaign focused on campus trees. The campaign included: tree tours on the College Green; a series of articles in the University’s online publication Compass about trees and tree care procedures; and ongoing social media posts featured on Ohio University’s Twitter page and Office of Sustainability’s Facebook and Twitter pages. These outreach pieces were used as an educational tool to teach students about trees as well as keep the student population informed about the newly planted trees on campus. Examples of the social media posts are provided below. 


Black Gum

black gum from tree tweets





Check out the new Black Gum tree planted near Cutler Hall. Black Gums are also known by their Latin name, Nyssa sylvatica. It will turn beautiful shades of red and orange in the Fall.






Purple Prince Crab Apple

purple prince crab apple from tree tweets





Check out the new Purple Prince Crab-apple located at Walter Hall Parking Lot. Planted by Grounds student workers, Justin & Matt, (with a little help from the Ohio Backhoe)!



Yoshino Cherry Trees

cherry trees from tree tweets





Check out the newly planted Yoshino Cherry Tree at the Japanese Cherry Tree Grove along Shafer Street!








Project 4: Trees Planted on Campus

2015 was a record year for tree plantings. 274 trees were planted on Ohio University’s Athens campus, the most in Ohio University’s history. Susan Calhoun, Ohio University Landscape Coordinator, partnered with Dave Simon, Planning Analyst in the Space Management Department, to create a map of the areas on campus where the trees were planted for the 2015 calendar year. During the 2016 calendar year, the map provided below has been used in various instances as an educational tool to teach students, as well as community members, the importance of trees and the importance of planting trees so that they can sequester the carbon off-put on a large campus such as Ohio University’s Athens Campus.

2015 trees planted map


Project 5: Earth Day Every Day Series


Earth Day Every Day Logo

Earth Day launched in 1970 as a country wide demonstration on behalf of the environment. The energy of the movement propelled the modern environmental movement to the front page. In 2016, we face local and global challenges which must be addressed using sustainability-focused solutions.

Earth Day Every Day is designed to help develop a more sustainable culture at Ohio University. The use of one day a year to celebrate the wonders and powers of Earth is a great start, but today we face an unprecedented challenge which calls for unprecedented focus. Creating a campus that engages in sustainable behavior regularly means having every student, faculty, and staff member thinking about the environmental, social, and economic consequences related to our daily activities. No one person can change the course of sustainability at Ohio University, but as a collective we can.

"Earth Day Every Day" is a collaborative effort aimed at encouraging all entities on campus to focus on sustainability-related programming and share their efforts through a streamlined calendar.  While this series was initially developed by Office of Sustainability, Graduate Student Senate, Zero Waste Initiative and International Student Union, all organizations on campus and in the community are encouraged to promote sustainable programming and join the effort.

Earth Day Every Day utilizes strategic educational outreach and marketing to ensure that sustainability is infused into programming efforts throughout campus. The Arbor Day and tree education efforts on campus will be recognized as Earth Day Every Day events moving forward, thus increasing visibility and collaborations.