Flagstaff, AZ – April, 22, 2016 – The Office of Sustainability is excited to announce that NAU has been honored with 2015 Tree Campus USA® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
“NAU Grounds department has been working on a variety of sustainable initiatives to improve our campus environment,” said Ralph Padilla, manager of NAU’s Grounds department. “From vastly expanding our composting program to utilizing sustainable landscaping practices we’re always looking for opportunities to improve our operations. Participating in Tree Campus USA is a great opportunity to help make sure we’re always conscious of best tree management and to help educate students about the benefits of our tree campus canopy.”
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Northern Arizona University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 254 campus across the United States with this recognition.
The Green Fund wanted to support this great accomplishment and has purchased dozens of Tree Campus USA hats for the Grounds department.
Phil Patterson, manager of the Research Greenhouse explains the next steps for the committee, “An important aspect of the Tree Campus USA designation for NAU is the completion of a campus-wide tree inventory. While the inventory was not a necessary part of the five core standards for Tree Campus designation, it is important for sustaining the Tree Campus status in at least two important ways. First the inventory will make the tree-care plan more effective by tracking needed care for individual trees in a database that will allow prioritization of tasks. It will also allow the ability to track expenditure for each tree or group of trees. Secondly, the inventory will be a tool for ongoing student service-learning projects. The inventory will encompass the NAU Arboretum which is used for student and community tours. Also, we hope to enlist the aid of students to complete the inventory over the next year. Long term there is the possibility of students using the database for undergraduate and graduate research of trees in the urban environment.”
Through the efforts of the NAU Grounds Department approximately 40 percent of the campus has been inventoried. The advisory committee is currently preparing to apply for grant funding from the TREE Grant Program run by the Arizona State Forestry Division to assist in completing the inventory. The committee is also developing a plan to inventory the more natural ponderosa pine vegetation on campus with the assistance of the School of Forestry and Professor Tom Kolb.
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $36.8 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
For more information contact any member of the Tree Committee listed on NAU’s Tree Campus USA page: http://nau.edu/Green-NAU/Tree-Campus-USA/