Clayton State University has earned the 2016 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day the Foundation. The designation recognizes the University’s commitment to effective urban forest management on campus.
“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”
The University is one of 296 colleges and universities across the nation that met five standards developed by Tree Campus USA to receive the designation. Campuses are judged based on maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
Clayton State University hired an arborist about five years ago to geotag all trees on campus to preserve the hardwood varieties and non-invasive species.
The University’s 12-member tree committee, comprised of Facilities Management representatives, faculty, staff, students and community members, developed an ongoing tree care plan to remove and replace trees to maintain a sustainable environment for trees.
Some trees near the College of Arts and Sciences and Magnolia Hall, for example, were most recently torn down as part of the tree care plan
In addition to maintaining a healthy environment for trees, the University has offered many community engagement opportunities to spread awareness and education about trees.
Last year, a group of faculty, students, Facilities Management staff and community members worked together to build a pollinator garden, which attracts bees, birds and butterflies, near the Lakeview Science and Discovery Center.
Dr. Jere Boudell, a biology professor, says the garden has been used in multiple biology courses for students to learn how to conduct scientific research, while learning about the importance of pollinators to biodiversity maintenance.
People can also visit the University’s arboretum trail to learn about the native trees of the campus’s Piedmont Forest and use the accompanying Arboretum Trail app for a more interactive and fun learning experience.
Clayton State also celebrates Arbor Day with a ceremony and tree planting each year.
“Arbor Day is an important event that acknowledges the important role that trees play in our lives,” Boudell says. “Trees not only add to the beauty of our campus and provide habitat to local wildlife, they also store carbon, provide clean air, reduce soil erosion, and even lower our energy costs by providing shade. “
For more information about Clayton State University’s efforts to preserve and protect trees, visit the Facilities Management website to view the campus tree care plan.