Protecting Arkansas’s forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards while promoting rural and urban forest health, stewardship, development, and conservation for all generations of Arkansans

Tree Campus, USA

(**Note: Due to social distancing mandates and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement for Tree Campus USA applicants to hold an Arbor Day event is being waived for the 2020 application year. Forestry Division personnel are available to assist campuses who have already purchased trees that still need to be planted. Please contact the Urban & Community Forestry Coordinator at (479) 228-7929 if you have questions or need assistance.**)

Tree Campus USA 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 the student population in community forestry efforts.

Begin the Tree Campus USA application process

Find out if your campus is a Tree Campus USA

Need assistance in getting started or with the application process? Contact the Urban & Community Partnership Coordinator at (501) 580-4054.

Benefits of Tree Campus USA

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

  • Endless benefits of trees in the environment include 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 in which to relax.
  • Getting students involved in the service-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 campus 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 (**Note: Due to social distancing mandates and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement is being waived for the 2020 application year.**)
  5. Institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body

Becoming a Tree Campus USA

The following suggestions will guide your campus toward the goal of becoming a Tree Campus USA:

  1. Get your campus interested!  Contact a variety of individuals such as: sustainability coordinator, grounds manager/supervisor, facilities manager, collegiate professors, and student environmental group leaders.  
  2. Plan and collaborate with partners and allies.  Create the Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  3. Divide the responsibilities of the five core standards among 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 to 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 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) (**Note: Due to social distancing mandates and health concerns amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this requirement is being waived for the 2020 application year.**)
  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 the Campus Tree Care Plan
  • Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee: terms of the representatives and roles committee members play
  • Campus tree care policies: planting, landscaping, maintenance, removal, establishing and updating a list of recommend and prohibited species, and managing 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 to contractors to heighten awareness about policies and procedure as well as goals of the institution. 

Responsibilities of a Tree Committee

  1. Set up operating procedures, including how officers are elected and meeting dates and times.
  2. Focus on meeting the Tree Campus USA standards:   
    • Celebrate Arbor Day
    • Student-Led 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
Supporting, Protecting, and Growing Arkansas Agriculture and Forestry
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