Sustainability in Grounds
See below the Grounds section of the 2021 Ohio University Sustainability & Climate Action Plan. Click on the image to view a document with clickable hyperlinks.
View some of OHIO's innovative green infrastructure features at
- mAppAthens Green Infrastructure Tour (created through the mAppAthens project)
- Green Roof ArcGIS storymap (created by students Caroline VanHook and Emily McCarty) and
- Schoonover Green Roof website (created by Dr. Kim Thompson and Alanis Rupprecht)
Ohio University's Athens Campus is a Tree Campus Higher Education USA!
The following pages provide supplementary details regarding Ohio University's progress in fulfilling the Arbor Day Foundation's five standards for application completion:
Jump to Section
- Standard 1 - Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Standard 2 - Campus Tree Care Plan
- Standard 3 - Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
- Standard 4 - Arbor Day Observance
- Standard 5 - Service Learning Project
(est. July 28, 2015)
The mission and purpose of the Ohio University Tree Advisory Committee centers upon five roles:
- 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.
- 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).
- Updating, publishing and advocating for the implementation of the Campus Tree Care Plan.
- 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.
- 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.
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)
- Community (preferably Regional Urban Forester with ODNR's Division of Forestry)
- Additional members or guests as deemed appropriate
Membership Roster, 2019:
- Susan Calhoun, Landscape Coordinator
- Mathew Riley, Utility Engineering Technician
- James Dyer, Geography Faculty and Chair
- Jackie Kloepfer, Research Associate
- Emily Mullins, Sustainable Living Hub Graduate Assistant
- Sam Crowl, Associate Director Office of Sustainability
Ohio University Campus Tree Care Plan is available in PDF format.
Ohio University Campus Tree and Landscape Care Procedures
Latest Version Established October 29, 2018
The purpose of the Campus Tree and Landscape Care Procedure is to:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- Sustainable Landscape Management
- Landscape Materials Management
- Soil Management:
- Fertilizer and Herbicides
- Ice-Melt/Salt application
- Tree Planting and Selection
- 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
See the full version of the Tree Care Plan in PDF format.
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. Ohio University tracks its spending in relation to tree purchased, labor, equipment, supplies for tree plants, maintenance and removal, and value of volunteer labor.
On April 22, 2020, Ohio University hosted a virtual joint Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration. To celebrate Arbor Day, the Office of Sustainability placed boxes of free oak tree saplings at various locations on campus, throughout the City of Athens, and in Chauncey and The Plains. The boxes were available from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and residents picked up about 80 of the available 100 saplings. Instructions for planting and caring for the saplings were included.
Calhoun took the approximately 20 leftover saplings and potted them in large containers so that she and her staff and can care for them until they find a permanent home.
For more information about the virtual celebrations, check out this OHIO News story.
2019 Arbor Day Celebrations:
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."
For the third year in a row, Ohio University hosted a 'Sapling Scavenger Hunt.' Graduate and undergraduate students paired up with preschoolers and staff from the Patton College of Education Child Development Center to follow a map in search of seven different trees. The map, created by the Facilities Management GIS team, led students to trees with a variety of shapes, colors, and scents, using leaves, bark, and fruits as identifying features. The selected trees included Umbrella Magnolia, Dawn Redwood, Sweetgum, Redbud, Sycamore, Tulip Poplar, and Black Walnut.
The Ohio University Integrated Pest Management Plan was adopted on July 16, 2019.
Approximately 75% of the small equipment inventory used in the Grounds Department is battery-operated. This equipment consists of push mowers, blowers, hedge trimmers, and weed-eaters. The advantages of producing little to no noise or emissions on-site not only creates environmental and direct human health benefits, but also boosts productivity and efficiency by allowing essential work to be performed at any hour without class-room disruption. Electric vehicles (ATV's) are being examined in an effort to replace diesel units.
In April, 2021, Ohio University's application was approved for the Bee Campus USA designation!
Ohio University has a Bluebird Trail. Bluebird boxes are placed in strategic locations around campus. More information will be uploaded soon!
Have you noticed areas like this on our campuses? Don't worry, the groundskeepers didn't forget to mow. Ohio University is intentionally leaving sections of campus to grow naturally to protect biodiversity and pollinator species, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from grounds equipment, and to enhance the natural beauty of our green campus.