The Arbor Day Foundation honored UNT as a Tree Campus USA University for its dedication to forest management and environmental sustainability.
Tree Campus USA honors universities and campus leaders for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.
UNT is one of 29 nationwide and one of only two in Texas to receive the designation. The other Texas school is the University of Texas-Austin.
"Being a Tree Campus USA will enable UNT to preserve our heritage and valuable trees," says Lanse Fullinwider, UNT's grounds manager. "Trees provide innumerable environmental benefits, and they bring great distinction to our campus."
University crews are currently taking inventory and evaluating the health of the approximately 2,000 trees on campus. The trees are primarily Oaks, with secondary populations of Elms, Cypress, Mesquite, Pear and many more. This evaluation inventory will allow UNT to create a maintenance plan in order to properly care for all campus trees in a sustainable manner.
To receive the Tree Campus USA designation, UNT met the required five core standards of tree care and community engagement. Those standards are:
- Establishing a campus tree advisory committee
- Having a campus tree-care plan
- Dedicating annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan
- Instituting a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.
"The Tree Campus USA program will have a lasting impact at the University of North Texas and throughout the country because it will engage students and local citizens to plant trees and create healthier communities for people to enjoy for generations to come," says John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "North Texas will benefit from better tree-care practices on campus, and it will help connect the university with tree-care professionals in their community to improve the tree canopy in Denton."
Tree Campus USA is modeled after the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree City USA program that began in 1976.
The program will create opportunities for college campuses to work with their communities on tree-care management practices. The program also will provide a hands-on way for students to care for the environment through tree-related events.
Sarah Bahari with UNT News Service can be reached at Sarah.Bahari.@unt.edu.