OSU recognized for campus trees

For the fifth year in a row, Oklahoma State University has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effectively manage almost 3,000 trees on campus. Students and others were invited to reaffirm that commitment during the campus Arbor Day celebration March 25 at 2 p.m. on the southwest side of the formal lawn, closest to University Avenue.

“The past few years we have partnered with two student groups, the Society of American Foresters and the American Society of Landscape Architects to create signs that we hang on trees to offer information on their actual value to the campus, based on field data,” said Chris Martin, urban forester at OSU.  “We plan to hang 40 signs from trees around Theta Pond and other areas on campus to bring awareness to some of the benefits trees provide outside of their flowers, fall color, fruit and shade.”

OSU’s latest campus tree survey estimates that the often unseen benefits of trees, including variables such as carbon storage, water runoff control, and pollutant removal, result in a total tree structural value near $9 million.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. OSU 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 for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 254 campuses across the United States with this recognition.

“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.”

OSU and the 253 other Tree Campus USA colleges and universities in the country invested a combined total of more than $36.8 million in campus forest management last year.