Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been named a 2014 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota. This is the third consecutive year that the Colleges have obtained the recognition.
Tree Campus USA is a national program that was launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota to honor colleges and universities for their leadership promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
To obtain the distinction, the Colleges met five core standards for sustainable campus forestry, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Program Manager for the Arbor Day Foundation Mary Sweeney believes the entire campus community should be proud of HWS’ sustained commitment to environmental stewardship.
“Your diligence in improving the environment and quality of life at Hobart and William Smith Colleges contributes to a healthier, more sustainable world for us all,” Sweeney adds.
The selection celebrates and recognizes the Colleges commitment to natural resource conservation and greening initiatives which can be shown through a culmination of decades of environmental conservation on campus.
Sarah Meyer, Finger Lakes Institute’s (FLI) Community Outreach Coordinator, touts the many ways that the Colleges’ community keeps the annual plantings an ongoing effort.
“A tree is planted in recognition of our college founder William Smith every year. Professor of History Susanne McNally’s classes regularly plant fruit trees on campus, such as cherry and apple, as well. More recently, our Urban Forest Inventory Intern Stacey Davis ’15 identified, measured, and mapped 102 trees on the campus farm. These are only a few examples of our curricular and co-curricular commitments to improving our community forest,” Meyer says.
Since 2012, Meyer has supervised three FLI interns conducting the HWS Urban Forest Inventory of the trees on campus which uses the “i-Tree Streets” software developed by U.S. Forestry Service. The i-Tree tool quantifies the structure of community trees and the environmental services that trees provide. It produces various reports such as the annual reductions of atmospheric CO2 due to sequestration. To date, the more than 800 trees included in the HWS Urban Forest Inventory sequester 48 metric tons of CO2, thereby supporting the Colleges’ campus carbon neutrality goal.
The HWS Urban Forest Inventory Project is assisted by three members of the HWS Tree Advisory Committee Robert Beutner, the Colleges’ Digital Learning Consultant, who provides support the interns in utilizing geographic information system (GIS) to map the campus trees; David Iannicello, Buildings & Grounds Manager, who helps interns hone their tree identification abilities; and Meyer, who chairs the Committee and manages the FLI’s Urban Forestry program and campus inventory project.
The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invest more than $26 million in campus forest management last year.
More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.