Colorado College has been honored by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management with a 2018 Tree Campus USA recognition.
The Tree Campus USA program recognizes colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Colorado College achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and a student service-learning project. Currently there are 364 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
According to CC Campus Arborist Mike Spruce, trees provide multiple benefits to the CC campus. In addition to their aesthetic appeal within the landscape, trees help reduce storm water runoff, provide oxygen to the air, help cool buildings during the summer months, and provide habitat to numerous birds, animals, and insects. Trees also provide areas for students to relax and enjoy the outdoors amid the hustle and bustle of the Block Plan.
“The Tree Campus USA designation reflects CC’s commitment to sustainability. By providing proper tree management and maintaining a healthy campus forest, the CC Grounds Crew is actively contributing to a sustainable campus. By investing in trees, CC is investing in the future of the campus,” Spruce says.
Students are involved in the CC tree care program too, according to Spruce. They plant trees at events such as Arbor Day and in the summer, student workers help with the day-to-day maintenance of the campus trees. In addition, students have helped inventory and map all of the roughly 2,400 trees on campus and they have been important members of the Tree Advisory Committee.
What does the future hold for the trees on CC campus?
“There are several challenges that the campus trees face, including ongoing drought stress, campus construction projects, current and potential insect outbreaks, and a high amount of trees that are passing their natural maturity (old age) and going into decline. Despite these challenges, the future looks positive for CC’s trees due to the establishment of a tree management plan and investing in the addition of new trees throughout campus,” says Spruce. Check out a walking tour of the CC forest.