Warren Wilson College earned 2019 Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
Warren Wilson College achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.
“We’re proud to have the recognition for the hard work the students are doing on Warren Wilson’s campus to protect our trees,” said John Odell, landscape supervisor at Warren Wilson College. “Trees are a vital resource on Warren Wilson’s campus. This recognition is important for educating students and community members about why we take such good care of our trees.”
There are several factors that make Warren Wilson’s trees unique, including the abundance of legacy trees on campus that are older than the college itself, the wide diversity of native trees on campus, and unique specimen trees that have been planted over the years. All of these factors and the proximity of forested areas create a unique campus environment that serves as an educational resource for people to learn about trees.
More than 1,000 of Warren Wilson’s trees were tagged, measured and cataloged in 2012 and 2013. Analyses of these data provided insight into the value of the trees including their monetary worth, carbon sequestration/storage, structure and ecosystem function.
The carbon sequestration for both the landscape and forest trees was found to be 68 tons per year, and the combined carbon storage was 2,419 tons.
“I hope that our students and community members understand the inherent value of trees, including benefits to the natural ecosystem and benefits they provide to people by improving physical, emotional and mental health through exposure to nature, as well as energy savings gained from moderating extreme temperatures and wind,” Odell said.
This is the fifth year in a row that Warren Wilson College has been named a Tree Campus USA. The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation. Currently there are 385 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of Warren Wilson College’s participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year.
The work directly supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative — an unprecedented effort to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire five million tree planters by 2022. Last year, Tree Campus USA schools collectively planted 34,515 trees and engaged 33,432 tree planters.