UW honored by Arbor Day Foundation

Tree Campus USA

Tree Campus USA -

The Quad's cherry blossoms, alongside 800 other distinct tree species, have helped the university become recognized as a "Tree Campus USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Photo by Joshua Bessex

The UW campus would look naked without its towering pines, hardy cedars and luscious cherry blossoms. These trees, as well as the 800 other distinct tree species on campus, have helped the university become recognized as a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the third consecutive year.

The Tree Campus USA award is given to schools who have achieved excellence in tree management and met five criteria for the award: having a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree plan, campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, Arbor Day observance, and annual service learning projects.

The Tree Campus USA program was started in 2008 to raise awareness about trees and forest management among college students. Sean Barry, director of media relations for the Arbor Day Foundation, said that through this program the Arbor Day Foundation hopes to inspire people to grow, care for, and celebrate trees.

“The goal of the program is to highlight the need to properly care for trees and to put effort into preserving them,” Barry said.

UW Arborist Sara Shores said the program is a way to get people to look at their urban forests holistically.

“So, not just planting individual trees but having an idea of why you want to plant the trees and having a campus master plan in place,” Shores said.

One of the Tree Campus USA award criteria is to have a campus tree care plan, which enables faculty to inventory, monitor, and tend to the needs of trees on campus. According to Shores, the university’s campus tree care plan includes a full inventory of the 8,500 trees on campus. This inventory is in the form of an interactive Google map allowing viewers to click on any tree on campus and find out its species, size, and other information.

Last year, students planted more than 100 trees near the Montlake Cut for the Tree Campus service project.

One way students can get involved with forestry is through the UW Forest Club. The club, an undergraduate forest ecology organization, uses activities such as hiking and camping to explore ecology.

“Our forests are pretty unhealthy right now,” said Kaitlyn Schwindt, the club’s president. “It’s mostly because of poor management practices. People didn’t have an understanding of how the forests work, and now people are just starting to understand.”

Reach contributing writer Megan Herndon at development@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @megherndon

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