TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound has been honored with a 2013 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
“This national recognition is a well-deserved vote of appreciation for all that our grounds staff do to ensure the Puget Sound campus remains a place of local and regional pride,” said Bob Kief, vice president for facilities services. “I want to thank our Grounds Manager Joe Kovolyan and his staff for their dedication and passion in maintaining such a beautiful campus.”
Puget Sound is one among only six colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest to be awarded the Tree Campus USA distinction since the program’s creation. Awardees must meet five standards, including: maintaining a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program; observing Arbor Day; and offering a student service-learning project. The Tree Campus USA program is sponsored by Toyota.
“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. “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 97-acre Puget Sound campus is home to more than 2,000 trees, including towering Douglas Firs and other native evergreens, alongside deciduous shade and flowering trees such as birch, sycamores, dogwoods, and American Elms.
The trees are a valuable asset. They create a welcoming space for campus members; they help keep the air and water clean by removing harmful pollutants; they improve storm water management; and by cooling spaces with their shade, they reduce energy use.
Puget Sound’s Department of Facilities Services works vigilantly to improve campus sustainability as it relates to landscaping, irrigation, and grounds management, especially during times of drought, wind storms, and new building projects. One example of this is the use of woodchips—created by pruning or removal of trees—as a mulch to help protect other plants and reduce weeds. The department has a special Sustainability Services branch, largely run by student workers, that contributes to the environmental mission.
In partnership with the City of Tacoma, campus grounds crews will enhance the neighborhood further by planting trees along Alder Street on the campus side of the road in early March. The city will provide the trees, and student volunteers and grounds staff will plant, mulch, and water the trees.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees. Last year Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested over $26 million in campus forest management. More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
About Arbor Day Foundation: Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. For more information visit arborday.org.