Recognized for enhancing engagement around conservation and promoting a campus of healthy trees, Hobart and William Smith have been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for the sixth consecutive year.
To earn the designation, the Colleges met five important measures for sustainable campus forestry and stewardship, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
This past year, Mitchell Beyer ’17 and Amanda Bruha ’20, both recipients of the Carver & DeLaney Family Environmental Studies Endowment Grants, were among the HWS students who spearheaded projects that contributed to the Colleges’ designation as a Tree Campus distinction.
Under the guidance of Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Kristen Brubaker, Beyer coordinated a planting event during Earth Week to improve the ecosystem around a stream that flows behind the Colleges’ Environmental Studies House. The environmental studies major with a minor in economics led a team of 12 volunteers to plant eight trees, 23 shrubs and 150 perennials in a riparian buffer.
Last spring, the Abbe Center for Jewish Life donated a Persian Parrotia tree for planting on Arbor Day to celebrate Temple Beth-El’s 70th anniversary. In addition, hundreds of local elementary school students helped plant trees at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. Bruha, a double major in environmental studies and geoscience, led the young students in an activity demonstrating the functions of a tree. As HWS’ Finger Lakes Institute intern, Bruha also helped organize the Finger Lakes Youth Climate Summit, a day-long gathering of high schoolers.
The Arbor Day Foundation, a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization, has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees through the Tree Campus USA initiative, now celebrating its 10th anniversary. At HWS, Sarah Meyer, food systems program manager, helps to manage Tree Campus projects.
The recognition is one of several accolades HWS has received for enhanced sustainability efforts and environmental leadership over the past year. The Colleges have been named among the nation’s “Top 50 Green Colleges,” featured in Sierra magazine’s annual list of “Cool Schools,” and were designated as a STARS Silver Institution, an international rating awarded by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. In 2017, the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts has earned LEED Gold from the U.S. Green Building Council.