Tree Campus, USA

Tree Campus began in 2008.  The program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders, and engage student population in community forestry efforts.

Benefits of Tree Campus USA

The Tree Campus USA designation gives a university the following benefits:

  • The endless benefits of trees in the environment, shade, wind blocks, clean air, and more
  • Trees reduce the amount of energy a campus, and community need to generate
  • Planting, and maintaining trees on your campus reduces carbon dioxide.
  • Green space gives people a setting to relax.
  • Students involved in the student learning projects focused on planting, and maintenance of trees encourages their commitment to creating a more sustainable future.

Qualifying For A Tree Campus USA Award/Designation

To qualify for the designation Tree Campus USA, a city must meet five standards.

  1. Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  2. Evidence of a Campus Tree Care Plan
  3. Verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the Campus Tree Plan
  4. Involvement in an Arbor Day Observance
  5. Institution of a service learning project aimed at engaging the student body

Becoming a Tree Campus USA

The following suggestion will guide your community toward the goal of becoming a Tree Campus USA.

  1. Get your campus interested-allies and partners.  Get in contact with a variety of individuals such as; sustainability coordinator, grounds manager/supervisor, facilities manager, collegiate professors, and student environmental group leader. 
  2. Plan and collaborate with partners and allies.  Create the Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  3. Divide the responsibilities of the five core standards to different experts in the group.
  4. Invite the community to learn about your campus efforts and join in the Arbor Day celebration.  Engage students in the Service Learning Project as well.
  5. Celebrate Arbor Day
  6. Submit your application by December 31st.

Tree Campus USA Application

The designation Tree Campus USA must be renewed each year. The State Forester in each state is responsible for the program. Each current Tree Campus, or a campus applying for the Tree Campus designation for the first time must submit the following:

  1. A Completed Application including: 
    • Potential members
    • The Campus Tree Care Plan
    • Meeting dates of tree Advisory Committee
    • A list of tree Advisory Committee members
    • An annual work plan
    • Dedicated annual expenditures for the Campus Tree Care Program (worksheet)
    • Any supportive letters.
    • Photographs.
  2. Arbor Day Ceremony (include a summary and photos from the event)
  3. Arbor Day News Articles or Program of Activities
  4. Service Learning Project summary, photos, and media coverage

Campus Tree Care Plan

The following must be addressed in your Tree Care Plan:
  • Clearly stated purpose
  • Responsible authority/department - who enforces Campus Tree Care Plan
  • Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, terms of the representatives, and role committee plays
  • Campus tree care policies for planting, landscaping, maintenance and removal including establishing and updating a list of recommend and prohibited species: manage for catastrophic events
  • Protection and preservation policies and procedures - include process for implementing tree protection plan including step by step process that every project must follow, including construction and trenching on campus
  • Goals and targets - develop at least one goal and target for your Campus Tree Plan. 
  • Tree damage assessment- enforcement, penalties, and appeals
  • Prohibited practices
  • Definitions of terminology related to campus trees
  • Communication strategy - how the campus tree care plan will be communicated to the college community and contractors to heighten awareness about policies and procedure as as well as goals of the institution. 

Responsibilities of a Tree Committee

  1. Set up operating procedures including how officers elected, meeting times and dates.
  2. Focus on meeting the Tree Campus USA standards: 
    • Celebrate Arbor Day
    • Student Lead Service Project
    • Keep the campus on track to be Tree Campus USA
  3. Promote tree stewardship through: 
    • Educational programs
    • Brochures
    • Tree planting projects
    • Tree workshops
    • News releases
  4. Assist Campus as needed