The University of West Georgia has earned Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation. The designation recognizes UWG’s dedication to campus tree care and protection and environmental stewardship and community outreach.
Tree Campus USA is a national program of the Arbor Day Foundation that honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy management of their campus forests and for engaging the community in environmental stewardship.
To earn the Tree Campus USA status, the UWG Facilities and Grounds department met core standards of tree care and community engagement. The Grounds department facilitated an Arbor Day tree planting along the new Stadium Drive in February 2011 and an Earth Day tree planting on Front Campus Drive in April.
The student volunteers planted more than 100 trees during these two events.
The Grounds department maintains an ongoing tree inventory of campus trees, recording location, size, health, pruning needs, and overall quality of more than 3,000 trees.
With the help of geosciences student Georgia Lofquist, grounds officials continue to expand the tree inventory and expect to have mapped the entire campus within the next year. A campus tree advisory committee was established to guide and give advice on tree care policies and to provide support on issues related to campus tree management.
The tree advisory board members are Dr. Hannes Gerhardt, Professor, UWG Department of Geosciences, Cindy Haygood, District Conservationist, U.S. Department of Agriculture-NRCS, James Hembree, Landscape Superintendent-Arborist, UWG Facilities & Grounds, Georgia Lofquist, Student Representative, UWG, and Dr. Shea Rose, Professor, UWG Department of Geosciences. The committee will meet biannually to review policies, assess goals, and plan community initiatives.
The university continues to engage the community with outreach opportunities. On Feb. 19, UWG will work with students from the Center for Student Involvement’s Leadership Program, the Geography Honor Society Gamma Theta Upsilon, and the student-led Mind Body Research Group to plant 50 Dogwoods along the Forest Drive corridor of campus. The dogwoods are a newly developed cultivar that is resistant to the dogwood anthracnose disease that is killing large quantities of dogwoods all along the East Coast and into northern Georgia. The grounds department is also providing opportunities for a student vegetable garden on campus.
The university plants many trees every year. Tree planting is one of many sustainable practices done in an effort to create and maintain a greener campus. UWG aims to maintain its status as a Tree Campus USA member for years to come. The university hopes the campus community as well as the greater surrounding community will continue to support its combined efforts to provide a safe and environmentally healthy campus for all.