Tree Campus Higher Education
Southwestern University is recognized as a Tree Campus Higher Education institution after meeting the standards developed to promote healthy trees and student involvement.
The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees; develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests; and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community forestry efforts.
Because it already comprises members representing a diverse audience of stakeholders, our Campus Tree Advisory Committee is included as a subset of the existing Southwestern University Sustainability Committee . This committee is made up of undergraduate students, facility management representatives, and faculty. The Campus Tree Advisory Committee also includes certified arborist, Lance Roberson.
The Tree Campus committee meets annually to review the Campus Tree Care Plan. By reviewing the plan, the Committee provides guidance for future planning, analyzes current events that affect trees on campus, and educates the community about the importance of campus trees.
A Campus Tree Care Plan should be flexible enough to fit the needs and circumstances of the particular campus. The Tree Care Plan should be goal-oriented and provide the opportunity to set good policy and clear guidance for planting, maintaining, and removing trees. It also provides education to the campus community, citizens, contractors, and consultants about the importance of the campus forest and the protection and maintenance of trees as part of the growth and land development process.
A college campus, to receive Tree Campus Higher Education recognition, must allocate finances for its annual campus tree program. Evidence of Southwestern University’s annual work and expenditures are described below:
- Tree Planting Initial Care Costs: $2,000
- Campus Tree Management Costs: $9,000
- Other Costs: $20,000
- Volunteer Hours: 10
- Trees Planted: 7
- Trees Pruned: 200
- Trees Removed: 17
- Tree Planting Initial Care Costs: $5,000
- Campus Tree Management Costs: $20,000
- Volunteer Hours: 400
- Trees Planted: 20
- Trees Pruned: 200
- Trees Removed: 6
- Tree Planting Initial Care Costs: $2,500
- Campus Tree Management Costs: $15,000
- Volunteer Hours: 20
- Trees Planted: 33
- Trees Pruned: 600
- Trees Removed: 25
- Tree Planting Initial Care Costs: $34,109
- Campus Tree Management Costs: $33,500
- Volunteer Hours: 65
- Trees Planted: 15
- Trees Pruned: 25
- Trees Removed: 8
All Tree Campus Higher Education recognized institutions must observe Arbor Day to educate the campus community on the benefits of the trees on their campus property and in the community. Southwestern University’s past Arbor Day Observances are described below:
- Tree Planting – Southwestern University students and staff members planted a 22-year-old live oak in its new home next to the historic story stone in front of the A. Frank Smith, Jr. Library Center on Texas Arbor Day.
- Campus Tree Nursery – Our Greenhouse Caretaker and SU Garden Club established a campus tree nursery in the greenhouse. Our hope is to eventually plant the saplings around campus when they are large enough. This service-learning project took place on National Arbor Day.
- Student-Wide Tree Planting – Students participated in planting 6 trees and were shown how to prepare the soil for planting new trees. This service-learning project took place on Texas Arbor Day.
- Tree Hike – Led by Lead Groundskeeper Ben Nava and Good Water Master Naturalist, Rachel Hagen. Rachel provided information about the different types of trees, such as the history of the pecan as our state tree; as well as general information about the importance of tree health for this campus environment. She also assisted in tree identification on campus for the Southwestern University Inventory. Ben discussed Native American usages of trees, such as the utilization of red oak, and cedar elm. He also discussed edible plants on campus and the spiritual significance of specific trees, such as the Cottonwood. This event took place on National Arbor Day.
All recognized Tree Campus Higher Education institutions must have at least one Service Learning Project each year to engage the student population with tree-related projects.
- Native Plants Webinar – The EcoRep Grounds team hosted a virtual educational session to teach the SU community about Native Plants in Central Texas.
- Tree Photo Archive – The Greenhouse Technician, EcoRep Grounds team, Alumni Association, the library staff, and students in a first-year seminar class are working to organize and officially document the information in historical photos and event information to age trees and attempt to define past pruning and care. This information will be added to the existing tree inventory.
Texas Arbor Day Tree Planting – Students and staff planted a 22-year old tree on Texas Arbor Day.
- Campus Tree Nursery – Our Greenhouse Caretaker and SU Garden Club established a campus tree nursery in the greenhouse. Our hope is to eventually plant the saplings around campus when they are large enough.
- Sustainability Tour - During Welcome Week, SEAK hosted a campus sustainability tour. On the tour, the student tour guides highlighted the trees planted in 2018, mentioned the procedures in our tree care plan, and acknowledged our Tree Campus Higher Education recognition.
- Garden Work Days - During the fall semester, the SU Garden Club hosted several garden workdays. During the workdays, student volunteers cared and nursed our newly established tree seedlings.
- Student-Wide Tree Planting – Students participated in planting 6 trees and were shown how to prepare the soil for planting new trees.
- Tree Inventory - Students collected a count of trees on campus (over 1500), their individual species, and their longitude and latitude coordinates on campus. This service-learning project took place throughout the entire spring. Using ArcGis, GIS student Caitlin Schneider uploaded the data and created an interactive treemap. In Fall 2020, EcoRep Leah Horick transferred the inventory from ArcGIS to Google Maps (see below).
The certification of Southwestern University as a Tree Campus Higher Education (previously known as Tree Campus USA) institution was accomplished through a Spring 2017 Environmental Studies capstone project, including Rebecca Huteson, Alexandra Morris, Colleen Nair, Olivia Ruane, and Vallery Rusuas, as well as with support from Facilities Management, the Sustainability Committee, and their advisor, Dr. Joshua Long.