March 17, 2017

SIU earns Tree Campus USA designation

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- For the second consecutive year, Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned the Tree Campus USA designation.

The Arbor Day Foundation awarded SIU the designation for 2016 based on the university meeting five sustainable campus forestry standards.

The university’s commitment to environmental stewardship includes having a tree advisory committee and a campus tree-care plan incorporating annual tree expenditures. In addition, SIU observes Arbor Day and sponsors student service-learning projects relevant to campus forestry and sustainability.

SIU’s tree committee includes arborists, forestry faculty, grounds and sustainability representatives, and students. The committee completed the campus tree plan and Tree Campus USA application and helps facilitate ongoing efforts to promote effective urban forest management at SIU.

There are numerous initiatives and activities in place at SIU that resulted in the Tree Campus USA recognition, including an inaugural tree-planting event in April 2016 in celebration of Arbor Day. Plans call for the university and its Plant and Service Operations to sponsor an event each spring during which volunteer students, faculty and staff will plant trees in designated areas of campus.

Also new in 2016 was the Campus Tree Walk and Forestry Club Demonstration. The Tree Campus USA Tree Advisory Committee invited 150 fourth-grade students from Lewis Elementary School in Carbondale to attend the Oct. 26, 2016, event. It began with student groups enjoying a variety of tree walks as they were introduced to the campus QR tree coding and learned the identifying factors for about 30 trees. Afterward, the Forestry Club demonstrated crosscut, underhand chopping and other lumberjack activities.

SIU maintains a campus tree inventory, featuring more than 7,000 trees, and it is updated as trees are planted or removed. PSO consults with faculty and staff from the forestry and plant biology departments to assure that the university’s tree biodiversity is balanced. Joint planning is also underway this year to establish trees around campus lake, a project what has educational and research implications and which will add tree diversity while promoting lake quality.

For more information about the tree campus initiative and happenings, visit The Tree Care Plan will be added to the website this year as well.