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March 14, 2019

SIU earns Tree Campus USA designation for fourth consecutive year

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has earned the Tree Campus USA designation for a fourth consecutive year.

“This is a nice acknowledgement for our campus because it recognizes our commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship,” Dave Tippy, superintendent of grounds and chair of the campus tree advisory committee, said.

SIU is one of just 364 Tree Campus USA universities and colleges across the country for 2018; the designation was announced recently.

University meets all Arbor Day Foundation criteria

The Arbor Day Foundation recognized SIU for meeting five sustainable campus forestry standards:

  • Having a campus tree-care inventory and plan. SIU boasts more than 7,000 trees and the campus tree inventory is updated as trees are planted or removed. Planning includes assuring tree diversity.
  • Establishing a tree advisory committee. The committee includes arborists, forestry faculty, grounds and sustainability staff, and students. They facilitate efforts to promote effective urban forest management on campus, oversee the campus tree plan and complete the Tree Campus USA application.
  • Hosting an Arbor Day observance. In celebration of Arbor Day, the university hosts an annual tree-planting event at designated areas on campus. Tippy said about 80 trees have been planted by volunteers, faculty, staff and students in the last four years. Details are still being finalized for this year’s event on  April 16.
  • Sponsoring student service-learning projects. Each fall SIU’s Forestry Club hosts a Campus Tree Walk. The event brings 150 or more grade school students from the region to campus for a tree walk where they are introduced to the campus QR tree coding and they learn how to identify dozens of trees. The club also demonstrates tree climbing, crosscut sawing, axe throwing and other lumberjack skills.
  • Dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program.

Achieving the honor is a campus-wide effort

Tippy emphasized that the honor is a cross-campus effort, with numerous campus units and employees and students involved.

“It’s great for students to be part of events, activities and efforts to improve, highlight and showcase our campus,” he said. “For some, it’s a good opportunity to get practical experience in an area of interest to them or an area that correlates with their majors.”

For more information about the tree campus initiative and related sustainability activities at SIU, visit