Spotlight: Tree Campus USA

Texas State decks the hills with trees
as new Tree Campus USA honoree

Students planting a tree

Freshmen Kaylee Seahorn, center, and Haleigh Barfield, left, helps plant a tree at the Tree Campus USA ceremony, held on campus Nov. 30.

Texas State University is one of four universities to receive the Tree Campus USA designation this fall from the Arbor Day Foundation. The selection honors colleges and universities that promote healthy urban forest management and engage the campus community in environmental stewardship. In celebration of the milestone, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota — co-creators and sponsors of the Tree Campus USA program — granted 71 trees to the Texas State campus, teaming up with students to plant the trees during a ceremony held Wednesday, Nov. 30, near the Speck Street Garage on the west side of campus.

University President Denise Trauth voiced her support of the Tree Campus USA initiative during the tree-planting ceremony.

“I expect this designation will raise our awareness of the urban forest around us and help us appreciate — even more than we already do — the beauty and environmental role of our trees,” Trauth said. “We are proud to be among the first campuses in Texas to receive it.”

logoThe Arbor Day Foundation in conjunction with the Texas Forest Service chose Texas State for the award because of the university’s efforts to involve students in planting and caring for trees across the campus. As part of Texas State’s annual Common Experience, the university sponsored a tree-planting event to reinforce a campus-wide focus on sustainability during the 2010-11 academic year. That initial planting grew into the university’s pursuit of achieving Tree Campus USA status.

To earn Tree Campus USA recognition, a school must meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement: establish a campus tree advisory committee; provide evidence of a campus tree-care plan; have dedicated annual expenditures toward the campus tree-care plan; hold an Arbor Day observance; and organize a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

The Texas Forest Service, which helped select Texas State for the honor, has been an advocate of the Tree Campus USA program, recruiting a total of six campuses across the state to the program so far.

“One of the things we like about Tree Campus USA is the opportunity for students to become involved in tree stewardship in the surrounding community,” said Tom Boggus, director and state forester of Texas Forest Service, who spoke at the event. “Communities and universities benefit from the connectivity and students develop a sense of the value of trees in the urban landscape.”

View more photos from the tree-planting ceremony on Texas State’s Flickr photostream.

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