About Tree Campus Higher Education
No matter where you’re from, trees and green space are an integral part of the college experience. They make campuses more livable, healthy, and beautiful, benefiting students and the environment as a whole.
Tree Campus Higher Education was founded in 2008 to foster that tradition of excellence. The program provides a simple framework for colleges and universities to grow their community forests, achieve national recognition, and create a campus their students and staff are proud of.
Is your campus ready to apply?Take the quiz to find out
Why should my school participate?
- A commitment to trees can significantly reduce the amount of energy your campus, and community, needs to generate.
- Planting and maintaining trees absorbs carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, mitigating the effects of climate change.
- Green space provides important mental health benefits to students, faculty, and staff, as well as encourages physical activity.
- Involving students in tree-related service-learning projects helps educate the next generation about the importance of caring for the environment.
Recognition also builds pride among your campus and the wider community. We make it easy for you to share your designation, sending flags, press releases, logos and graphics, and other materials after your acceptance.
Become a Tree Campus
Your college or university campus can receive annual Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by meeting five overarching standards. They include:
- Establishment of a campus tree advisory committee
- Evidence of a campus tree care plan
- Verification of the plan’s dedicated annual expenditures
- Observing Arbor Day
- Creating a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body
Tree Campus Higher Education Standards
Your college campus can receive annual Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by meeting five standards. Two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities meeting these standards will receive recognition materials to showcase their dedication to the campus environment.
The standards should be completed, and application submitted, by your state’s deadline to be recognized as a Tree Campus Higher Education college or university for that calendar year.
Standard 1 - Campus Tree Advisory Committee
A Campus Tree Advisory Committee comprised of members representing the diverse audience of those with a stake in campus trees is established and meets regularly.
This committee must include a representative from each of the following audience:
- Student (undergraduate or graduate).
- Facility Management.
- Community - for example - city forester, municipal arborist, community tree board member.
Each individual campus may also have other interested student organizations, alumni, faculty, or staff that could be represented such as administration, sustainability coordinator, professor emeritus, etc.
While responsibility of the campus trees often ultimately lies with the campus forester, arborist, landscape architect, or designated facilities department, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee can assist in providing guidance for future planning, approval of a comprehensive campus tree plan, education of the campus population as to the benefits of the campus trees, and development of connectivity to the community.
Standard 2 - Campus Tree Care Plan
A Campus Tree Care Plan should be flexible enough to fit the needs and circumstances of the particular campus. The Tree Care Plan should be goal oriented and provide the opportunity to set good policy and clear guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees. It also provides education to the campus community, citizens, contractors, and consultants about the importance of the campus forest and the protection and maintenance of trees as part of the growth and land development process.
A Campus Tree Care Plan must include:
- Clearly stated purpose.
- Responsible authority/department - who enforces the Campus Tree Care Plan.
- Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, terms of the representatives, and role committee plays.
- Campus tree care policies for planting, landscaping, maintenance and removal including establishing and updating a list of recommended and prohibited species; managing for catastrophic events.
- Protection and Preservation policies and procedures - include process for implementing tree protection plan including step-by-step process that every project must follow including construction and trenching.
- Goals and Targets - develop at least one goal and target for your Campus Tree Plan. These could include (but are not limited to) tree canopy target, development of a link between the Campus Tree Plan and other green initiatives on campus or in the community; completion of a campus-wide tree inventory, etc. Include how the goal will be measured.
- Tree damage assessment - enforcement, penalties, and appeals.
- Prohibited practices.
- Definitions of terminology related to campus trees.
- Communication strategy - how the campus tree care plan will be communicated to the college community and contractors to heighten awareness about policies and procedures as well as the goals of the institution.
Virginia Tech has an excellent example of a comprehensive Campus Tree Care Plan. You may download their Tree Care Plan below.Virginia Tech’s Campus Tree Care Plan
Standard 3 - Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures
A college campus, to be designated a Tree Campus Higher Education campus, must allocate finances for its annual campus tree program. Evidence should be shown that an annual work plan has been established and expenditures dedicated towards that work plan.
It is suggested, but not mandatory, that campuses work towards an annual expenditure of $3 per full-time enrolled student.
Expenditures could include, but are not limited to:
- Cost of trees purchased
- Labor, equipment and supplies for tree planting, maintenance (pruning, watering, fertilization, mulching, competition control, etc.) and removal, if needed
- Value of volunteer labor and other contributions from student or civic organizations
- Staff time dedicated to campus forest planning, tree care contractors
- All associated costs of the campus tree management including:
- public education related to the campus forest;
- professional training;
- related association memberships (International Society of Arboriculture and local chapter, Society of Municipal Arborists, state urban forest council, etc.);
- campus tree inventory
Standard 4 - Arbor Day Observance
An Arbor Day observance provides a golden opportunity to educate the campus community on the benefits of the trees on their campus property and in the community. The Arbor Day observance can be on the campus or held in conjunction with the community where the campus is located. Your observance may be held at an appropriate time for your campus as long as it is related to trees in some way.
Evidence—recording of the date the observance was held with attachment that includes program of activities, news coverage, and/or pictures—will be required when submitting your application.
Click here for free materials to help you promote your Arbor Day observance.
Standard 5 - Service Learning Project
The Service Learning Project should be an outreach of the spirit of the Tree Campus Higher Education initiative. This project should provide an opportunity to engage the student population with projects related to trees and can be part of a campus or community initiative. The project must be done within the course of the year application is submitted.
Project ideas include, but are not limited to:
- Volunteer tree plantings or tree maintenance
- Tree inventory (campus or community)
- Establishment of campus arboreta
- Student-led effort to have community designated a Tree City USA
- Coordinate internships with the urban forestry or parks department in your community
- Assist Project Learning Tree or other programs centered around trees in training teachers at schools near your campus or organize training for your school’s College of Education
- Other tree-related service learning or educational programs for students
- Partnership with state forestry departments on regional projects
Use the tools below to get buy-in from your campus leaders and collaborators.
Here are some additional resources that may be helpful on your journey to recognition.Frequently Asked Questions Program Toolkit Sample Tree Care Plan Tree Celebration Toolkit Arbor Day Celebration Tips
After being accepted, you can visit our online store to order promotional materials for your campus.
FAQ for Tree Campus Higher Education
Does the Campus Tree Advisory Committee have to be a newly established committee, or if we already have one that has the same function, just a different name, can this be considered our Tree Advisory Committee?As long as there is a committee that manages the implementation of your Tree Care Plan and has the required representatives (one member from the faculty, facilities department, community, and students), it can be a newly organized group or one that has already been established.
What are examples of meeting agendas for the Tree Advisory Committee?If you have never met as a committee before, consider for your first meeting, gathering all the appropriate representatives simply to discuss the Tree Campus Higher Education program and the goals that need to be achieved to receive the recognition within that calendar year.
Future meetings can be held to set targets for the following year, update your tree care plan, get feedback/advice from representatives about tree management issues, etc.
Is the Campus Tree Advisory Committee going to take decision-making authority away from the grounds or facilities departments?No, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee is just that - advisory. This committee will provide valuable insights, support, and advice to grounds or facilities departments, which generally hold the decision-making authority when it comes to campus tree management.
Describing the committee's value, Matt Gart, Campus Landscape Architect at Virginia Tech, focuses on their role as a resource for addressing landscaping issues. 'When we aren't certain of the best route, we ask for wisdom from the committee,' he says. 'For example, to remove a tree in today's climate, you need others to back you. They fulfill that role. They're also great reinforcement when you need backing for projects. I've discovered that, after I get their approval and approach administration for funding, we're much more likely to receive the financial support we've requested.'(Excerpt from the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society's September/October 2008 Forum newsletter. PP. 22-23)
The Campus Tree Advisory Committee members and establishment date are already written on the main application page. Is more information needed about it in our Tree Care Plan?Yes, it is important to establish your committee within the Tree Care Plan document, describe its role, which persons will be included in the committee, and the terms of the committee members. This component of the Tree Care Plan is often left out by colleges as they assume that since they listed the members under Standard 1 they do not need to address the committee again in the Tree Care Plan.
Can the Tree Care Plan be changed in the future?Your Tree Care Plan can always be changed and should be reviewed and/or updated regularly. When applying for recertification, at the very least, the
Goalssection will need to be updated on a yearly basis. Every sixth year, a newly revised plan must be submitted.
We already have a Tree Care Plan. Do we have to make up a new one to meet all the specifications listed under Standard 2?No, you do not have to create a new document, but all 10 of the components of a Tree Care Plan listed under Standard 2 must be included somewhere in the plan.
Do you have an example of a Campus Tree Care plan?Yes, Virginia Tech's and Georgia Tech's Tree Care plans are available for download, below. Both plans characterize the purpose of this standard by establishing a document that can be used as a reference tool to educate individuals about the campus' tree care goals. Please do not copy and paste from these documents.
Does the Arbor Day Foundation have suggestions for how we could get more funds for tree-planting and management?The Arbor Day Foundation strongly encourages you to work toward achieving Tree Campus Higher Education recognition. Going through the process of organizing your campus' tree care and management plans clearly demonstrates to your administration, donors, and grantors that you have a plan and vision for your campus trees. The aforementioned groups will be more likely to fund projects for campuses that can directly illustrate how they will be using and caring for trees on their campus in the future.
If we become a Tree Campus Higher Education college, will there be specific grant money made available to us that otherwise wouldn't be?No specific grant money is available through the Arbor Day Foundation. It can only help you, though, when applying for grants through other organizations, to have the Tree Campus Higher Education designation that recognizes your achievements of best tree management practices. Sometimes grant funding is available through state forestry departments. State Urban Forestry Coordinators can provide insight on any grants that may be available to your institution.
Does the Arbor Day observance have to be on Arbor Day?No, you can organize an Arbor Day observance on a date that is most convenient for your campus.
Does the Arbor Day observance have to pertain only to trees or can it include other elements of the environment and community involvement in outdoor education?The Arbor Day observance can include other elements of the environment and community involvement. For example, if you already have a yearly
Sustainability Weekand want to have an Arbor Day observance in conjunction with that event, that will fulfill the requirements for Standard 4.
Do our service projects have to take place on our campus?Service projects can be held off campus, but they should engage your own college students and take place within the local community.
Do we have to create a unique service project every year?No, you can do the same service project every year.
If we have questions about specific trees on our campus, are there recommendations for who we should call?Yes, the Arbor Day Foundation always encourages you to get in touch with your local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)-certified arborist or Urban and Community Forester since they live in your area and know the specifics of tree care and management for your community. For links to these contacts, visit our list of Urban Forestry Coordinators or the International Society of Arboriculture.
Is Tree Campus Higher Education recognition open to elementary, high school, boarding schools, corporate campuses, etc.?At this time, no. Tree Campus Higher Education is only open to 2- to 4-year accredited colleges and universities. The Tree Campus K–12 program is available to K–12 schools.
Can our school use the Tree Campus Higher Education logo on our materials and website?You’re welcome to use our logo for materials that won’t be sold. To obtain the logo, please reach out to us at [email protected].
I’m a student. Who should I contact at my school to get us started?Call, email, or write a letter to your campus leaders. Here’s an example.
How long has my campus had Tree Campus Higher Education recognition?To see how many years your campus has been recognized as a Tree Campus Higher Education school, please visit this link: arborday.org/programs/tree-campus-higher-education/campuses.cfm.
If the deadline to apply for your state has passed, please reach out to your state coordinator for a deadline extension.
State Urban Forestry Coordinators
State Urban Forestry Coordinators are specialists that can provide support and expertise to help you care for trees in your community.
PO Box 5319, ASCC - AHNR
Pago Pago, AS 96799
011-684-699-1394 or 1575 | [email protected]
Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management
1110 W. Washington, Ste. 100
Phoenix, AZ 85007
520-262-5519 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for Arizona is not the Urban Forester. It is:
Megan Lasley - Conservation Education Coordinator
Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management
1110 W. Washington St. Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Arkansas Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division
258 Lower Dam Pike
Arkadelphia, AR 71923
479-228-7929 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for Arkansas is not the Urban Forester. It is:
Harold Fisher - Urban Forestry Partnership Coordinator
Arkansas Forestry Commission
PO Box 10
Greenbrier, AR 72058
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
District Department of Transportation
55 M Street, SE Suite 400
Washington, DC 20003
202-497-0227 | [email protected]
FEDERAL STATES OF MICRONESIA
PO Box P-12
Pohnpei, FM 96941
011-691-320-2646 | [email protected]
FSM-STATE OF CHUUK
P.O. Box 189
Weno, Chuuk FSM 96942
FSM-STATE OF KOSRAE
Development Review Commission
P.O. Box DRC
Kosrae, FSM 96944
691-370-2076 | [email protected]
FSM-STATE OF POHNPEI
Division of Forestry and Marine Conservation
P.O. Box 562
Kolonia, Pohnpei FSM 96941
691-320-7457 | [email protected]
FSM-STATE OF YAP
P.O. Box 463
Yap, FSM 96943
691-350-2183 | [email protected]
Georgia Forestry Commission
1055 E. Whitehall Rd.
Athens, GA 30605
(478) 951-8286 | [email protected]
Forestry and Soil Resources Division
163 Dairy Road
Mangilao, GU 96923
671-300-7976 | [email protected]
Louisiana Community Forests
C/O Baton Rouge Green
2241 Christian Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
225-381-0037 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for Louisiana is not the Urban Forester. It is:
State Partnership Coordinator
2241 Christian Street
Baton Rouge, LA, 70808
MA Dept of Conservation & Recreation
251 Causeway Street., Ste. 600
Boston, MA 02114-2104
617-626-1468 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for Massachusetts is not the Urban Forester. It is:
Mathew Cahill - Community Action Forester
DCR Urban & Community Forestry
40 Cold Storage Drive
PO Box 484
Amherst MA, 01004
Urban Forestry Center
45 Elwin Road
Portsmouth, NH 03801
603-431-6774 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for New Hampshire is not the Urban Forester. It is:
Liz McKinley - Community Forester
New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands
172 Pembroke Road
Concord, NH 03301
603-271-2901 | [email protected]
NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
CNMI Dept. of Lands & Natural Resources
PO Box 10007, Lower Base
Saipan, MP 96950
670-322-5018 | [email protected]
PO Box 460
Koror, PALAU 96940
011-680-488-2504 | [email protected]
PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
400 Market Street,
Harrisburg, PA 17105
717-214-7511 | [email protected]
Apply online for Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA to save time and postage. If using a paper application instead, colleges should mail the competed Tree Campus application to the State Coordinator. Municipalities should mail the completed Tree City application to the Service Forester for their county, at the appropriate Forest District Office. Select the correct district at DCNR's website; click on the INFO tab for the address.
REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
Office of the Chief of Agriculture
P.O. Box 1727
Majuro, MH 96960
011-692-625-3206 | [email protected]
Texas A&M Forest Service
200 Technology Way, Ste. 1281
College Station, TX 77845
979-458-6650 | [email protected]
The Tree City USA Contact for Texas is not the Urban Forester. It is:
Partnership Coordinator | Texas A&M Forest Service
200 Technology Way #1281 | College Station, TX 77845
Virgin Islands Department of Agriculture
RR1 Box 10345
Kingshill, VI 00850
| [email protected]
Urge Your Campus Officials to Make Your Campus a Tree City Higher Education Campus
Write a letter or email to your campus leaders, urging them to apply for Tree Campus Higher Education recognition. Below is a sample you can use for inspiration. It is helpful and more effective to edit in your own experience.
Here’s an Example You Can Use:
Trees make our campus, and our town, a special place to live. They shade our classrooms, our homes, our businesses, and our streets. They clean our air and water, reduce storm water run-off, increase our property values, reduce energy costs, and make our campus greener, safer, and healthier.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education program recognizes excellence in campus tree management as well as student and community involvement. This is really an exciting way to raise environmental awareness from the bottom up, engage the community here on campus, and raise our profile for prospective students. You can learn more on how we can make a healthier, greener campus community by visiting the Tree Campus Higher Education Web site at treecampushighered.org.
Hear from Participating Institutions
Being a Tree Campus Higher Education supports UIC's Climate Commitment-Biodiverse Campus by supporting and enhancing the biodiversity of tree species. It also shows the commitment the university has taken to ensure a robust campus tree population.Lisa Sanzenbacher, Assistant Director for Sustainability Programs, University of Illinois at Chicago
CU Boulder has met the Tree Campus Higher Education standards for over ten years now. Acquiring and maintaining this status has created many opportunities for our students, staff and faculty to engage with one another…in our efforts to improve, maintain and celebrate the urban forest on our campus.Vince Aquino, Facilities Management Arboriculture Supervisor, University of Colorado Boulder
[Tree Campus Higher Education] formalizes the tree work we do by shining a light on our innovative initiatives, skilled network of experts, and required resources put forth to accomplish our goals. It encourages us to reach and do better every year, expanding the breadth of tree management on campus and following best practices in the region and beyond.Chloe Cerwinka, Landscape Planner, University of Pennsylvania
Earning the Tree Campus Higher Education Recognition demonstrates to our students, faculty, staff, and peer institutions that Spelman College values its campus trees for improving our environment through contributing to CO2 reduction, creating shade for the campus community, shading buildings to reduce energy use in building cooling, and contributing to the beautiful aesthetic of the campus landscape.Michael Walsh, Grounds Supervisor, Spelman College
Earning Tree Campus Higher Education recognition means that all Villanovans can be proud of the work that the facilities and grounds team puts into planting and caring for the trees we have on this beautiful campus.Hugh Weldon, Horticultural Manager, Villanova University
Arizona State University's commitment to the Tree Campus Higher Education standards involves our students, faculty, staff and the community and gives everyone an opportunity to share ideas, educate and promote the benefits of our diverse collection of trees on our campus.Deborah Thirkhill, Program Coordinator, Arizona State University
2021 Recognized Campuses
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