June 2, 2022

Purdue presented with Tree Campus USA Award for 13th consecutive year

Students planting trees Student volunteers work with the Grounds department to plant trees at Founders Park on April 20, 2022. The event was held in celebration of Earth Week, and Purdue University was presented with the Tree Campus USA Award. (Photo provided by Administrative Operations Communications) Download image

In celebration of Earth Week in April, Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability hosted an annual volunteer tree planting event at Founders Park. The event was held in partnership with the Grounds department and Purdue Arboretum. During the event, the University was presented with the Tree Campus USA Award for the 13th consecutive year.

“The fact that Purdue University has received this award for more than 10 years now says a lot about our commitment to tree care,” says Camille Shoaf, senior campus planner with Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability. “We really enjoy hosting this annual tree planting event, which helps bring new life to special places across campus.”

Tree Campus USA was founded by the Arbor Day Foundation in 2008 and recognizes colleges and universities with effective campus forest management. To be presented with the Tree Campus USA Award, a college or university must meet five standards that help promote tree health and involvement from the student body. Those standards are maintaining a tree advisory committee, creating a campus tree care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program, holding an Arbor Day observance and providing a student learning project.

Phil Richey, Grounds supervisor, says Purdue was already meeting many of the requirements to become Tree Campus USA certified in 2008 when he started with the University.

“We had the equipment and dedicated arborists at that time,” he says. “All we really had to do was organize a Tree Advisory Committee to start meeting quarterly and put together the Tree Care Plan.”

Now, Grounds works throughout the year to maintain those standards, and the University has been a Tree Campus since 2009.

Just like the Grounds department, the Purdue Arboretum promotes environmental sustainability. Paul Siciliano Jr., director of the arboretum, says working with the Grounds department helps support the arboretum’s overarching goals.

“It’s our mission to bring people closer to nature through education, and events like the recent tree planting, help advance that,” he says.

The organizations involved in the recent tree planting are also involved with the 1869 Tree Planting Master Plan, which is an initiative to plant more than 3,700 trees on campus by fiscal year 2025. The plan is in its third year with an effort to bring more native species around campus. The groups will continue working together to foster a sustainable, green environment for students, faculty, staff and visitors of campus.

“This has been a successful collaboration between the organizations for several years now, and we are really proud to be a part of it,” Shoaf says.

For more initiatives related to sustainability, including additional tree planting events, be sure to follow Campus Planning, Architecture and Sustainability on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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