Centre College was honored with a 2016 Tree Campus USA recognition for the seventh year in a row by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Created in 2008, Tree Campus USA is a national program by the Arbor Day Foundation that honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. The foundation has assisted schools across the country in planting thousands of trees.
Centre achieved this title for another year by meeting the five standards for effective campus forest management, which include having a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
“Being recognized as a Tree Campus USA is important,” said First Lady Susie Roush, who is one of the many tree enthusiasts on campus. “It’s a testament that the College values a beautiful, educational and healthy environment.”
John C. Walkup Professor of Chemistry Preston Miles, and environmentalist of the first order, has always accepted the responsibility for making sure Centre’s check-list for the Arbor Day Foundation is complete.
Through the foundation and being recognized as a Tree Campus USA, “we learn something about tree management,” Miles said. “Even if we weren’t a Tree Campus, we would keep up the trees, but this does give us some motivation.”
Around this time every year, Roush said she is reminded of how fortunate the College is to have the support of the Board of Trustees. Board member David Grissom and his wife, Marlene, established a fund called the Susie Roush Campus Beautification Fund to assist with the care and maintenance of the campus forest. In addition, board member John Barton has enabled Centre, through personal connections, to get valuable advice from numerous tree experts, Roush explained.
After the ice storm in 2009, Centre lost nearly 100 trees. According to Director of Student Life and Housing Ann Young, the College has been strategically replacing the lost trees yearly.
Over the last two years, the Hope Springs Fund that comes from the year-end campus garage sale after Commencement, as well as the Snowy Owl Foundation, have granted funds for the planting of the new trees on campus.
“The dogwoods and redbuds by the side of Nevin were planted in 2015, and in 2016, we replaced several trees in the sinking springs area,” Young said.
Learn more about how Centre students, faculty and staff remain dedicated to a variety of environmental and sustainability efforts year-round.