Tree Campus USA: Growing a greener tomorrow

Becoming a part of Tree Campus USA in 2016, college and community participants planted a tree on the south side of the Technical Industrial building during Free College Day. Tree planting is one of the five annual standards that need to be met in order to obtain the accommodation. Back row: Mike Hurst, Holly Herman, John Bruckner, Donna Reincke, Ron Schulz, Kelly Milligan, Ricky Carrington, Randy Ferry. Front row: Greg Weathers, Rich Harden, Tyler Douglas, Derek Nelson, Jeremy Podolak. See coverage of Tree Campus USA on A2.

Becoming a part of Tree Campus USA in 2016, college and community participants planted a tree on the south side of the Technical Industrial building during Free College Day. Tree planting is one of the five annual standards that need to be met in order to obtain the accommodation. Back row: Mike Hurst, Holly Herman, John Bruckner, Donna Reincke, Ron Schulz, Kelly Milligan, Ricky Carrington, Randy Ferry. Front row: Greg Weathers, Rich Harden, Tyler Douglas, Derek Nelson, Jeremy Podolak.

By Jenelle Franklin
Editor

Trees on campuses across the nation provide welcomed shade and energy effeciency. “Tree Campus USA recognizes campuses across the country for their tree-care work,” Donna Reincke, landscape planner said.

Tree care is important to Reincke ,“We have so many trees on campus, about 1600 trees that are in the current inventory and we have so many mature trees we want to preserve,” she said.

“WCC has a beautiful campus and grounds, some recognition showcasing all of our work was one of the reasons we wanted to apply for this program,” Reincke said.

Students were involved in a tree planting event held during fall Free College Day 2016 as part of a Service Learning Project needed to be accepted into the national program.

Each accredited school must meet 5 annual standards to participate in Tree Campus USA:
  • Inventorying all trees on campus, maintaining and updating that list of 1600 plus trees.
  • Diversity of tree species on campus
  • Constant maintenance of trees, removing downed trees
Top 3 accomplishments the department has seen themselves do:
  • Campus Tree Advisory Committee
  • Campus Tree Care Plan
  • Campus Tree Program with Dedicated AnnualExpenditures
  • Arbor Day Observance
  • Service Learning Project

 

“We planted on the south side of the TI building, Reincke said.

Having trees near buildings improves sustainability Reincke mentioned.

“It was campus and outside community. The goal is to get your students involved in service learning projects, as well as community outreach,” Reincke said. “We can educate more about trees and how to increase sustainability.”

For WCC, “This is our first year,” Holly Herman, landscape and grounds maintenance manager said.

You must reapply each year and continue to meet the standards Herman mentioned.

Herman’s staff includes 11 full-time employees and two part-time employees who care for around 230 acres, she mentioned.

“They require that you have an overall management plan for your trees, know how to care for them, make sure you have a budget assigned to care, and that you are managing them as a whole urban tree forest,” Herman said. “Tree diversity is key on our campus.”

tree1By being accepted into Tree Campus USA, “it says a lot about the campus, that the college and administration are supporting our efforts to really make the campus look nice and manage it in the way it should be properly managed,” Herman said.

The official national recognition will be awarded on April 11, where staff will receive a plaque, flags to hang around campus and other materials to display Tree Campus USA recognition.

“Our next event is Urban Tree Days on April 12,” Reincke said.

Reincke and Herman are working with faculty to bring information sessions to campus to talk about tree care and will be planting a tree on April 12.

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