Washtenaw Community College is one of four colleges in the state of Michigan to receive Tree Campus USA certification from the Arbor Day Foundation and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
The national program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Washtenaw Community College 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.
WCC is the only new member on the Tree Campus USA list, joining neighboring University of Michigan, which made the list for the ninth consecutive year. Western Michigan University and Calvin College were also honored.
The college inventories and maintains approximately 1,600 trees, a total that does not include the natural forest areas located outside the campus’ 147 acres of maintained grounds.
WCC Landscape and Grounds Department manager Holly Herman said achieving Tree Campus USA designation demonstrates a commitment to proper care of the urban forest by the Landscape and Grounds Department and the entire campus community. She is also quick to point out that achieving the honor is one of many initiatives her department has outlined to create a more sustainable campus.
“As a Tree Campus USA site, we hope to set a great example for students, staff, faculty and visitors on the value of trees,” Herman said. “We also want to ensure that the learning environment we provide in the future is more enjoyable, stimulates all of the senses, and provides greater diversity than it does today. Being a designated Tree Campus USA site means we are actively planning for the future.”
The Arbor Day Foundation is the same organization that has granted Ann Arbor its Tree City USA status for 36 consecutive years. A total of 111 Michigan communities earned Tree City USA recognition at an April 11 event at the University Club in Lansing, the eighth-highest total nationally.
The DNR also recertified two Michigan utilities (Lansing Board of Water and Light and ITC Holdings) through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Line USA program.
The WCC facilities management department received a flag, plaque and other signage to promote the certification across the campus.
"Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all."
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