Arbor Day Foundation Honors Kent State With Tree Campus USA Recognition for 10th Consecutive Year
Trees fill the sky every season as far as the eye can see as Kent State University students walk down the Lefton Esplanade on the Kent Campus. Large oaks provide shade on a warm summer day, glistening maple trees leave a blanket of orange and red on the ground as students move back into the residence halls in the fall and snow-covered pines bring to life the holiday spirit for a Kent State winter.
Kent State has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation for the university’s commitment to promoting and maintaining a green campus and community through the many trees that fill its campus. Kent State earned this honor for the 10th consecutive year from the Arbor Day Foundation, and it is the only school in Ohio that has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation since the program’s inception.
Since 2008, the Arbor Day Foundation has used its Tree Campus USA initiative to promote and honor campuses that uphold sustainable practices and help make the planet a healthier and better place. The Tree Campus USA program also assists colleges and universities across the nation by establishing healthy community forests and setting up effective conservation practices.
The program is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, and Kent State is proud to have taken part in it each year.
Kent State is one of the 344 campuses across the country that make up the current class of Tree Campus USA schools. Kent State also is one of the original 29 recognized campuses of the initiative. Kent State’s status as a Tree Campus USA honoree has put an emphasis on the university’s positive and sustainable impact on the environment.
“Kent State was among the first schools designated as a Tree Campus USA campus and has received the distinction every year it has been available since its inception,” says Rebekkah Berryhill, a supervisor at Kent State’s grounds department.
The university has greatly benefited from the influx of trees on campus since its initial involvement with the program. Kent State is home to 4,850 trees of 155 different species, with the most common tree on campus being the red maple.
Each of those trees provides several health and environmental benefits, from improved air quality to a reduction of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to acquiring valuable green space. Those results demonstrate why Kent State has continued to earn recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation.
“Trees provide many benefits to campus, from reflecting heat to providing shade, reducing noise pollution, capturing rainwater, cleaning the air and enhancing health benefits,” Ms. Berryhill says. “I truly believe it when people say ‘plants can survive without people, people cannot survive without plants.’”
To achieve recognition, Kent State, and other participating schools, must meet five standards outlined on the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA webpage. These qualifications include the establishment of a campus tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.
By participating as a Tree Campus USA campus, Kent State does its part to nurture the environment and work toward healing the environment.
“By meeting the Tree Campus USA standards, Kent State not only aids in creating a sustainable environment, but also inspires a sense of self-worth to the university community as a whole,” Ms. Berryhill says. “Students, staff and faculty all come together and truly gain a sense of community when working toward this distinction.”
The Tree Campus award presentation and annual tree planting ceremony will be held April 26 on the Kent Campus.
For more information about the Tree Campus USA program, visit www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa.
For more information about Universities Facilities Management’s grounds department at Kent State, visit www.kent.edu/ufm/grounds.