Nebraska City, Neb. (October 30, 2013) – Today, Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota celebrate five years of the Tree Campus USA® program. Nearly 200 distinguished leading universities have been honored with the Tree Campus USA designation, and the number of schools applying to be included continues to expand.
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation with generous support from Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in environmental stewardship.
Healthy trees on campus make a difference. For example, the 200,000 trees on the University of California, San Diego, campus remove 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere every year, helping to reduce total campus emissions by five percent in a heavily-populated and auto-reliant metropolitan area.
Tree Campus USA recognition is awarded to colleges and universities that meet five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures to their campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects. All of these standards have the ultimate goals of reducing the footprint of college campuses and inspiring a lifelong passion for protecting the environment in today's college students.
In addition, the program has benefitted from some exciting partnerships, including a recent partnership with the African American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, who have been tremendous partners in service learning for their members. Each year, Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota sponsor tree plantings on Tree Campus USA school grounds, and the partnership with Alpha Kappa Alpha inspired an expansion of those events to include historic black colleges and universities such as Delaware State, Texas Southern, and Alabama A&M University.
Five years ago, in 2008, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized the University of Michigan as the first Tree Campus USA. Since then, Tree Campus USA has grown to 192 campuses:
Tree Campus USA 5 Year Snap-shot:
• Total Tree Campus USA campuses: 29
• Total Tree Campus USA Trees Planted: 5,867
• Total Campus Investment: $4,796,370
• Students on Tree Campus USA campuses: 582,650
• Total Tree Campus USA campuses: 192
• Total Tree Campus USA Trees Planted: 41,808
• Total Campus Investment: $26,746,088
• Students on Tree Campus USA campuses: 2,454,774
"Participation in Tree Campus USA is a terrific opportunity for service-oriented and environmentally-conscious students," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of Arbor Day Foundation. "We're happy to be celebrating five successful years of the Tree Campus USA program, and we remain enthusiastic about our continued collaboration with Toyota during the coming years to help spread the spirit of stewardship to young people across America."
"At Toyota, we believe in empowering individuals to make our communities cleaner and greener," said Latondra Newton, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer at Toyota Motor North America. "We are proud of what we've accomplished together during these five years in working with students and staff of diverse backgrounds, and look forward to the next five years as even more colleges and universities become a part of Tree Campus USA."
Angie De Soto, a Virginia Tech University graduate, credits the beginning of her career in sustainability to her participation in Tree Campus USA. She reflected that "tree plantings are an awesome way to engage students around sustainability efforts. I can come back to the tree that I planted. It's something that connects an individual to a sense of place. It's tangible."
A Northwestern University student said of her Tree Campus USA experience, "On Arbor Day, there were so many students from all walks of life -- all ethnicities working together. I was proud to know that our event helped facilitate this moment where the campus was united; students working toward a common goal and for a common cause were benefits to tree planting that I didn't even realize could occur. I think this observance needs to be an annual event on the Northwestern campus."
For a complete campus list and additional information, including how to apply for Tree Campus USA recognition, visit: www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA
Tree Campus USA Fifth Anniversary infographic: http://www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/images/infographic.jpg
About Arbor Day Foundation: Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants. Toyota directly employs over 31,000 in the United States and its investment here is currently valued at more than $19.5 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design. Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. To date, Toyota has contributed $700 million to nonprofits in the United States. For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit www.Toyota.com/community.