Stetson named Tree Campus USA

March 04, 2013

Jessie Bosma plants a turkey oak outside the Rinker Learning Center.

Jessie Bosma plants a turkey oak outside the Rinker Learning Center.

For the second year in a row, Stetson has been named a Tree Campus USA, giving Stetson national recognition for the work it does on campus to support a healthy outdoor environment.

“Trees directly benefit people by providing shade to buildings, walkways and outdoor spaces, beautifying outdoor space, and providing teaching opportunities,” said Cynthia Bennington, associate professor of biology. “In addition, trees help reduce atmosphere carbon dioxide levels, stabilize soil, and provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.” Stetson chooses to use native species, such as longleaf pine, to create a stronger natural environment.

Tree Campus USA is a national program that honors colleges and universities for having an effective campus forest management. It is achieved through five standards that the campus has to embody including: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

In 2012, Stetson went above and beyond the five requirements needed to be titled a Tree Campus USA. With Bennington’s help, Stetson created two main goals to strengthen the conservation efforts of the campus: to continue the development of the Volusia Sandhill Teaching Landscape, and to identify areas on campus that can become “tree banks” with native understory. Stetson has made advancements on both aspirations through events such as “Save a Sandhill Day,” “Science Saturday” and numerous volunteer hours of planting trees on campus.

Stetson University plans to maintain as well as grow in their efforts to provide the campus with a healthy tree canopy.  The university plans to continue to develop the Teaching Landscape, with emphasis on providing interpretive signs and a walking path to educate visitors about the natural and cultural history of the longleaf pine forest. Stetson will also continue to identify those areas on campus that can be locations for new trees. Finally, in 2013, Stetson’s Tree Advisory Committee plans to revisit the campus landscape plan.

Stetson will celebrate Arbor Day during Earth Day activities planned for Saturday, April 20, at the Gillespie Museum.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for all of us.” Through the generous sponsorship of the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, campuses throughout the country have been able to plant hundreds of thousands of trees.

by Lauren Robbins




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