(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has received recognition for the third straight year as a “Tree Campus USA.” The Arbor Day Foundation honors select U.S. colleges and universities with the Tree Campus designation, based upon management of their urban forests and efforts to engage students and staff in conservation.
SOU first received the designation for its efforts in 2014, and the 2016 honors were announced last week. The university has ramped up its Arbor Day activities as part of its ongoing campaign to become and remain a designated Tree Campus – 24,000 plants and 173 large trees have been planted on campus by volunteers during the past three annual celebrations, and a five-acre arboretum has been created.
“We have had a combined Arbor Day outreach of over 2,000 volunteers who have participated in everything from tree planting, pollinator garden creation and planting, botanical tours, pruning demonstrations and world-renowned educator presentations,” said Mike Oxendine, SOU’s landscaping, equipment and motor pool superintendent.
All trees planted at SOU’s Arbor Day celebrations have been donated by Plant Oregon, a Talent nursery that specializes in native plants, shrubs and trees. SOU offers free t-shirts to its Arbor Day volunteers, and those interested in participating can find more information on the SOU Landscape facebook page. This year’s Arbor day is on Friday, April 14.
The Arbor Day Foundation created its Tree Campus USA program in 2008. For 2016, 296 campuses nationwide received the recognition – including four universities and one community college in Oregon.
To qualify for the honor, colleges or universities must meet five standards: maintain a tree advisory committee, employee a campus tree-care plan, dedicate funding each year to the campus tree program, observe Arbor Day and engage students through a service-learning project.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management efforts during 2016.
About Southern Oregon University
Southern Oregon University is a medium-sized campus that provides comprehensive educational opportunities with a strong focus on student success and intellectual creativity. Located in vibrant Ashland, Oregon, SOU remains committed to diversity and inclusion for all students on its environmentally sustainable campus. Connected learning programs taught by a host of exceptional faculty provide quality, innovative experiences for students. Visit sou.edu.