planting trees on SIU's campus

April 11, 2022

SIU earns Tree Campus recognition for seventh year, plans tree planting

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale has for the seventh consecutive year earned national recognition as a Tree Campus Higher Education program in honor of its commitment to effective forest management. As the university celebrates this Arbor Day Foundation acknowledgment, it is continuing efforts to make SIU a greener, more sustainable campus by hosting a tree planting event on April 19, and everyone is welcome to participate.

All welcome at planting

The SIU tree planting in honor of Arbor Day will take place from 9-11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. on April 19, rain or shine. Participants should meet in front of Parking Lot 11, located along South Illinois Avenue/U.S. 51, just south of the main entrance to campus, directly east and across Lincoln Drive from the Student Center. Organizers encourage participants to dress appropriately, with jeans and closed-toed shoes recommended.

For more information, or to volunteer, email sustainability@siu.edu. No pre-registration is required.

“We are very excited that we get to have this event live and welcome everyone to participate this year after having to do things differently the last couple of years due to the pandemic,” said Dave Tippy, superintendent of grounds. “This event fits well with the Tree Campus program. We are always very impressed by the student initiative, interest and turnout we always have for this and other sustainability-related events. We also appreciate the campus and community interest and participation.”

SIU in select company

Each year, just a few hundred institutions of higher learning across the country are chosen by the Arbor Day Foundation for the select honor, previously known as Tree Campus USA. This marks the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day (officially April 29 this year). Although final results for this year have yet to be announced, SIU was among fewer than 400 institutions honored last year.

To earn the designation, SIU had to meet five campus sustainability standards:

  • Establish a tree advisory committee.
  • Create a campus tree care plan.
  • Sustaining a campus tree program.
  • Host an annual Arbor Day observance.
  • Sponsor student service-learning projects.

Trees intrinsic to campus culture

SIU has more than 5,200 inventoried trees, encompassing over 150 different species, on the 1,200-acre main campus alone. In addition, there are thousands of additional non-inventoried trees in the wooded areas around Campus Lake, Thompson Woods and auxiliary properties including the Touch of Nature Environmental Center and the farms.

Hundreds of trees on campus are marked via a QR tree coding system, courtesy of the Tree Campus Advisory committeePlant and Service Operations grounds department and the SIU Forestry Club. By simply scanning the code, you can learn to identify various trees and view photos of them along with numerous other details about their bark, fruit, leaves and more.

The SIU Arboretum also offers six self-guided tree identification tours, which you can view virtually or enjoy in person as walking tours. SIU is the first Illinois university to earn Level II Arboretum Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. It is also featured in the Morton Register of Arboreta.

Get a peek of SIU’s beautiful and extensive variety of trees by viewing a Virtual Tree Tour or a 360 Degree Virtual Tree Tour.

Ongoing Commitment

The campuswide collaborative focus on to sustainability education, community outreach and environmental stewardship is ongoing, Tippy said.

“In recent years, national studies have consistently shown that university students are very concerned about sustainability and the environment, and we take that very seriously at SIU,” Tippy said. “Our commitment to sound forestry practices not only creates a beautiful living laboratory for students, visitors and the local community, but it also has tangible environmental and economic benefits, including increased property values, energy savings, improved air quality and more.”

Learn more about the SIU Arboretum Tree Campus initiative or by contacting Tippy at 618-453-8179 or dtippy@siu.edu or Elizabeth Cheek at 618-453-8185 or echeek@siu.edu.