Tree Campus USA® Service Learning Award Winners to Beautify Local Communities

Lincoln, Neb. (November 19, 2015) -- Tree Campus USA, a program of the Arbor Day Foundation, sponsored by Toyota, has awarded two higher education institutions, Alabama based Huntingdon College and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, $10,000 as a result of the Tree Campus USA Service Learning Contest. The Service Learning Contest solicited projects from colleges across the country that sought to create a service learning project to engage students in a tree planting/maintenance project in a low-to-moderate income (LMI) area of their local communities.

Huntingdon College students, in partnership with the City of Montgomery, will assist with planting and maintaining 40 trees around the South Holt and Malvern Street intersection. This area is part of a municipal initiative effort to revitalize and improve streetscapes for walkability, safety and connectivity. The planting will also help to reduce storm water runoff and calm area traffic. The project is in the vicinity of the Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Office for Sustainability will conduct a campus-wide event which will culminate with a tree planting ceremony involving students, faculty, staff, community leaders and area residents in the Lynchburg neighborhood of Edcouch. The neighborhood is the first USGBC LEED Silver affordable housing enclave in South Texas - designed to embrace sustainability through collaborative community efforts. Through the University's program, each resident will receive a tree to plant along with a tree care kit and will be invited to bi-lingual workshops, produced by the university, promoting stewardship of their new community.

"We were overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of the projects submitted for this years' Service Learning Award," said Mary Sweeney, Tree Campus USA program manager. "Each project meets the unique urban forestry needs of the campus communities. We hope this award will inspire others in the areas to get involved as well."

Entries were narrowed down to the top six finalists by an internal judging committee, three from the small-school category (less than 15,000 enrolled students) and three from the large-school category (more than 15,000 enrolled students). One winner from each category was selected through online voting this fall. The contest was open to colleges and universities that received 2014 Tree Campus USA recognition and had selected a location for the project in an area of campus or the local community identified as Low-to-Moderate Income.


About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at