Tree Campus USA

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:

  1. Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  2. Campus Tree Care Plan
  3. Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
  4. Arbor Day Observance
  5. Service Learning Project

Campus Tree Advisory Committee

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.

2014 OSU Campus Tree Advisory Committee

  • Lisa Bowers – Urban Forester, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Jim Chatfield – Associate Professor – OSU Extension, OARDC
  • Michael Johnson – Owner, Scioto Gardens Nursery and Gallery, Delaware, Ohio
  • Mary Maloney – Director, Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
  • Sherrill Massey – Volunteer, Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
  • Beth Ritterholz – Student Assistant, Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
  • Steve Schneider – OSU Forester, Facilities Operations and Development
  • Kathy Smith – Forestry Program Director, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Dr. Dan Struve – Emeritus Professor, OSU Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
  • Dr. Sakthi Subburayalu – Research Scientist, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Dr. Davis Sydnor – Emeritus Professor, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
  • Sharon Treaster – Faculty Emeritus, OSU Department of Horticulture and Crop Science
  • Steve Volkmann – OSU University Landscape Architect, Facilities Operations, and Development
  • Christina Voise – GIS and Accessions Technician, Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens
Campus Tree Care Plan

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: 

  1. Clearly stated purpose
  2. Identify responsible authority/department for enforcement of the plan
  3. Establishment of Tree Advisory Committee – terms of representatives and committee duties
  4. Care policies for maintenance – planting, landscaping, recommended and prohibited species, and management in the event of a catastrophe.
  5. Protection and Preservation policies and procedures
  6. Goals and Targets
  7. Tree Damage Assessment
  8. Prohibited Practices
  9. Definitions of terminology related to campus trees
  10. Communication strategy – heightening awareness for both the college community and contractors on policies and procedures.
Dedicated Annual Expenditures

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.

Arbor Day Observance  

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

2011 winners: Sherrill Massey, Joshua McElhaney, and Lauren Tilley





2012 winners: Oliver Firestone, Sakthi Subburayalu, and Mike Pedley





2013 winners: Christina Voise, Cameron Bushong (Dr. Gregory Hitzhusen receiving), Hope Weber and Steve Schneider





2014 Winners: Dr. Dan Struve, Jim Chatfield, Dr. Davis Sydnor





Service Learning Project – ArboBlitz and Campus Tree Mapping

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. On October 17, 2014 Ohio State horticulture professors and local horticulture and urban forestry professionals taught the basics of planting balled and burlapped, container, and seedling trees in a classroom setting in the Agricultural Administration Building. Following the classroom instruction, the class was given the opportunity for hands-on tree planting in the Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens Arboretum North. 

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.  For more information on how to get involved with this event, contact Lina Sasaki at

Visit Arbor Day Tree Campus USA to learn more about the national Tree Campus USA program.