Earth Week: Tree Campus USA celebration today

April 25, 2014

Image with caption: From left, Tree Campus USA committee members Graham Herbst, Kristin Watkins, Julie Sommer, Melanie Stewart, Shannon Boerner, M.D., and Tom Payne display the Tree Campus USA flag that will fly in the Durham Outpatient Center circle.

From left, Tree Campus USA committee members Graham Herbst, Kristin Watkins, Julie Sommer, Melanie Stewart, Shannon Boerner, M.D., and Tom Payne display the Tree Campus USA flag that will fly in the Durham Outpatient Center circle.

UNMC has officially been designated a Tree Campus by the Arbor Day Foundation. This means UNMC is recognized as having met five standards for tree care during 2013.

Why is the designation important?

  • Trees significantly reduce the amount of energy a campus, and community, needs to generate and pay for.
  • Trees reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • Trees protect us from wind (and that's significant in Nebraska -- see picture above).
  • Green spaces give people a place in which to relax outside.
  • Involving students in service learning projects focusing on planning, planting and maintenance of trees encourages their commitment to creating a more sustainable future.

So, why not just plant and care for the trees we have? Why go to the work of applying? The application process is a way to structure and plan for planting the right kinds of trees in the right places to provide maximum benefit, a way to plan and budget for their maintenance in the years to come, and avoid some of the expense of planting trees only to bulldoze them later, or to plant a row of trees under a utility line. As Nebraska lawn and garden expert John Fech says, "Right plant, right place."

What did UNMC do to become a Tree Campus?

  • Established of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee,
  • Documented a Campus Tree Care Plan,
  • Verified dedicated annual expenditures on the Campus Tree Care Plan,
  • Observed Arbor Day (by planting a tree while the snow unpleasantly swirled around us),
  • Conducted a Service Learning Project in which students identified trees on campus.

How will we celebrate?

With free ice cream, of course! Today -- Arbor Day -- from noon to 1:30 p.m., a tree will be planted in the retention pond just east of the ice rink. Also at the student plaza at the Sorrell Center, an arborist will answer questions about trees and shrubs, educational materials will be available and live music will be performed by Blues Agent. Need a tree to plant? We are giving 150 away. Don't have a place to plant one? We'll have free wildflower seeds. And don't forget the free ice cream cones.

Wood you like to get away from your desk and into the sunshine, hear some good music, and have a free ice cream cone? Then make like a tree and leaf your desk to join the celebration.

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