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Forest management yields 11th straight Tree Campus USA title

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the 11th consecutive year.

Colleges and universities earn the designation for successful campus forest management and for enlisting staff and students in conservation objectives.

In a letter to UL Lafayette, Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, wrote that the Tree Campus USA selection reflects “diligence in improving the environment and quality of life at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.”

The Arbor Day Foundation started the program in 2008.

The University earned the Tree Campus USA title by meeting five standards for effective campus forest management:

  • 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.

Gretchen LaCombe Vanicor, director of the University's Office of Sustainability, cited an ongoing project to compile an inventory of all campus trees and shrubs as an important student project. AmeriCorps volunteers are “geotagging” trees, using an app to digitally log the location and species of each tree.

The inventory will help the University determine the most viable spots for new plantings.

“It will help us pinpoint areas where we can plant trees or shrubs to help reduce storm water runoff, for example, or to provide shade along sidewalks,” she said.

Engaging student volunteers to help with campus greenery and forest management projects is one of many initiatives included in the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan. The plan is a comprehensive statement of goals through 2021 that seek to lessen the University’s greenhouse gas emissions, and energy and water consumption.
Learn more about the Arbor Day Foundation and its Tree Campus USA program at arborday.org.

Photo credit: University of Louisiana at Lafayette