Hobart and William Smith Colleges have been selected as one of three national finalists in the 2015 Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA Service Learning Contest open to institutions with fewer than 15,000 enrolled students. The competition promises up to $10,000 to fund the proposed service project, which would help finance both the purchase of 100 fruit trees and maintenance after the initial planting.
The Colleges’ contest proposal was submitted by HWS, in cooperation with the City of Geneva and with support from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Urban Forestry Division.
Sarah Meyer, community outreach coordinator for the Finger Lakes Institute, with support from Sage Gerling, director of Geneva’s Office of Neighborhood Initiatives, and the state DEC office developed a plan for planting a fruit tree grove in the City of Geneva and an orchard at the HWS Fribolin Farm. As part of the effort, a student intern would assist with tree planting events, K-12 education programs, and the showing of the film “Edible City.” An ambassador program would also be established to maintain the fruit trees. These aspects of the proposal would contribute to hunger relief efforts in the community with fruit from the projects donated to community food banks and food service programs.
In order to apply for the contest, colleges or universities must have been recognized as a 2014 Tree Campus USA. Hobart and William Smith have received the recognition in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Public voting to select the winning campuses began on Monday, Nov. 9 and will run through Friday, Nov. 13, at arborday.org/vote.
“HWS needs your vote in order to bring this project to Geneva this spring,” says Meyer.
The Tree Campus USA program helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests. A Tree Campus USA designation recognizes campuses that effectively manage their trees, develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy urban forests, and strive to engage their student population in service learning opportunities centered on campus and community forestry efforts.