Tree Campus USA is a nationwide program sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes colleges and universities that not only effectively manage their campus trees, but work to develop connectivity, awareness, and engagement in tree management and forestry efforts in both the student population and surrounding communities. Since its creation in 2008, over 200 colleges and universities across the United States have earned Tree Campus USA recognition. To be recognized as a Tree Campus USA, a college or university must meet five standards:
- Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Campus Tree Care Plan
- Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
- Arbor Day Observance
- Service Learning Project
The Campus Tree Advisory Committee must include a representative from each of the following groups: student, faculty, facility management, and community. Committee members assist with planning, developing a connected community, and educating the campus population about the benefits that campus trees provide.
2021 OSU Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Pamela Bennett - Associate Professor and Extension Educator, State Master Gardener Program Director, Interim Program Director for Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens
- Jim Chatfield – Associate Professor and Extension Specialist – OSU Extension, OARDC
- Kyle Dues - Student, School of Environment and Natural Resources
- David Hix - Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology - School of Environment and Natural Resources
- Phillip Knopp - Arborist - OSU Landscape Services
- Lauren Koch - Sustainability Consultant - Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
- Andrew Neil - GIS Analyst - OSU Planning, Architecture & Real Estate Facilities Information & Technology Services
- Steve Schneider – OSU Forester, Facilities Operations and Development
- Tyler Sirak - Founder - Urbn Timber
- Kathy Smith – Forestry Program Director, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
- Dan Struve - Emeritus Faculty - Horticulture and Crop Sciences
- Steve Volkmann – OSU University Landscape Architect, Facilities Operations, and Development
- Julia Wilson - Program Coordinator - Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
An ideal Campus Tree Care Plan is flexible, goal-oriented, and provides clear guidance for maintaining campus trees through changes and circumstances of its designated campus. All tree care plans are required to address ten topics:
- Clearly stated purpose
- Identify responsible authority/department for enforcement of the plan
- Establishment of Tree Advisory Committee – terms of representatives and committee duties
- Care policies for maintenance – planting, landscaping, recommended and prohibited species, and management in the event of a catastrophe.
- Protection and Preservation policies and procedures
- Goals and Targets
- Tree Damage Assessment
- Prohibited Practices
- Definitions of terminology related to campus trees
- Communication strategy – heightening awareness for both the college community and contractors on policies and procedures.
College campuses must allocate finances specifically for enactment and enforcement of the Campus Tree Care Plan. These costs include purchasing trees, labor, equipment, campus tree inventory, public education, memberships, training, and time dedicated to planning and contracting. While the Arbor Day Foundation suggests a minimum annual expenditure of $3 per each full-time enrolled student, OSU dedicates approximately $5 per student, with annual expenditures totaling around $295,000.
Since 1984, Chadwick Arboretum has hosted annual Arbor Day observances at Ohio State University. Arbor Day always falls on the last Friday in April and is a great opportunity to raise awareness of trees and the benefits they provide. The OSU Arbor Day celebration features the dedication of newly planted trees, poetry readings, and award presentations including the “Lorax Award” given to those individuals who have gone above and beyond to "speak for the trees" in the previous year.
Lorax Award Winners
Ann Baird, Sean Barnes, Kent Halloran, Tim Moloney, Andrew Neil, Lina Sasaki, Kathy Smith, Amy Stone, and Ryan Vogel
In the Fall of 2011, OSU and Chadwick Arboretum hosted the first ArboBlitz, a service learning event which featured four days of tree lectures, demonstrations, poetry, and “tree-shirt” competitions, in addition to our tree mapping. ArboBlitz continued with a day of tree mapping in 2012 and a tree ID clinic in 2013. Since then, ArboBlitz has continued to be a much-loved, annual tradition.
Chadwick Arboretum continues to encourage public and student involvement with our trees throughout the year. Campus tree inventory is held most Fridays in an effort to identify, measure, and map all of estimated 50,000 trees on the OSU Columbus campus.
Visit Arbor Day Tree Campus USA to learn more about the national Tree Campus USA program.