(Ashland, Ore.) — Southern Oregon University has earned recognition as a 2019 Tree Campus USA – an honor it’s held since 2014.
Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation program started in 2008, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
“Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use,” said Lauren Weyers, the program coordinator at the Arbor Day Foundation. “Southern Oregon University is stepping up to do its part … to provide a solution to these global challenges.”
A total of 383 campuses nationwide received the recognition in 2019, but only seven colleges in Oregon were recognized – six universities and one community college. SOU is listed among those seven because it fulfilled Tree Campus USA’s five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, a dedicated annual expenditure for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
SOU’s Arbor Day is run by the Landscape Services Department, which has ramped up its Arbor Day activities as part of an ongoing campaign to remain a designated Tree Campus. Between 2014 and 2016, Landscape Services organized volunteers to plant 137 large trees and 24,000 plants around campus.
All trees planted at SOU’s Arbor Day celebrations are donated by Plant Oregon, a Talent nursery. SOU offers free t-shirts and lunches to its Arbor Day volunteers. Arbor Day 2020 is on Friday, April 24.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member, nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission of inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. Tree Campus USA’s colleges donate money to support the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative, which strives to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities by 2022.
Story by Blair Selph, SOU Marketing and Communications student writer