The University of Northern Colorado is a Tree Campus USA for the first time, the Arbor Day Foundation announced today.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
UNC achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA's five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures toward trees, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.
"We're thrilled to receive this designation as we take great pride in the beauty of our trees, which serve as an outward reflection of the vibrant education and community here," said UNC President Kay Norton. "This distinction represents not only an acknowledgment of sustainability through the years but also validates the foresight of previous campus leaders, whose shared vision transformed a barren landscape in the 1890s into the thriving tree-lined canopy that it is today."
Last summer, UNC Manager of Landscaping & Grounds Pat McDonald and colleague Brent Engel canvassed the 246-acre campus on foot to officially catalog by hand 3,695 trees — about 1,300 more trees than previously estimated from combining a 1987-88 survey with a tally of new and deceased trees since 2002.
UNC is home to the Colorado Tree Coalition state champion trees based on their size:
- a Kentucky coffee tree (northwest of Frasier Hall)
- two Amur cork trees (north of Gray Hall and south of Gray Hall in the parking lot island)
- a pecan tree (northeast of the intersection of 9th Avenue and 19th Street).
The university plans on designing a self-guided walking tour of the campus arboretum using the information collected by Engle and McDonald, who also leads groups of student volunteers that plant trees on campus throughout the year, including annually on Arbor Day/Earth Day.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Tree Campus USA sponsor Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant hundreds of thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested $23 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.