Youngstown State University has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the fourth consecutive year.
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.
To qualify for this annual recognition, YSU must meet 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.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation.
YSU’s tree population of nearly 2,000 trees is comprised of 79 species representing 49 genera and has an estimated value of $2.2 million.
Catherine Cala, director of development at YSU, is chair of the university’s Campus Beautification Working Group. “Managing natural resources on an urban campus is a challenging undertaking,” she said. “Our Grounds Department does an excellent job with hard-working, dedicated personnel who treasure our campus landscape. The Campus Beautification Initiative augments the university’s efforts with philanthropic dollars.”
Cala said that funding for donor trees is designated to an endowment that helps sustain campus trees and green spaces for the benefit of future generations of students.
Students involved in the Campus Beautification Initiative recently celebrated Earth Day and Arbor Day by calling attention to the nearly 2,000 trees on the campus. YSU students Andrew Boyle, Sarah Perrine and Neil Anthonsen helped distribute flyers to encourage student involvement in the preservation of campus trees and green spaces.
Perrine, a junior and a member of the Campus Beautification Working Group, is working to establish a “Class Tree Program” in which each graduating class would sponsor the planting of a tree and placement of a plaque that honors their collective success as graduating seniors. Perrine hopes to start this new tradition with the Class of 2014, her own graduating class. “I think it will be neat to come back to campus and visit our class tree,” she said. “We can watch it grow and see how it changes from year to year.”
Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested $23 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.