Outdoor Services Crew

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tree Campus USA

Earlier this week, I learned that the University of Colorado Boulder campus has been certified as a Tree Campus USA for the year 2010 by the National Arbor Day foundation. The Arbor Day society originally began the program of Tree City USA and has more recently developed a category for college campuses. We are the first Front Range campus to achieve this certification and only the second campus in Colorado to do so.

Through much of 2010 a small committee met to pursue this certification. The standards require a five step process and submission of supporting documents.

The first criteria called for the creation of a campus wide committee comprised of Campus Arborists (Facilities Management and Housing), campus students, the Environmental Center, community forestry specialists (from the City of Boulder and Colorado State Forest Service), the Campus Landscape Architect and campus administrators. This group met six times with numerous parts being worked on by individuals, which were then brought back to the commitee discussions.

The second criteria required the details of a campus tree care plan, most of which was in place (particularly in the campus building standards), but in a variety of locations. Vince Aquino, campus arborist, came up with a list of common definitions.

The third standard required the collection of all of our expenses (campus wide) for dedicated tree maintenance items. Over the last few years Outdoor Services have been gathering a few more details about such expenses using our work order management system. Having this detailed information made this step a fairly easy one to complete.

The fourth standard was a 'celebration' event for Arbor Day. Since mid April had already past when out committee got rolling, we added a tree planting component to a Tree Walk that occured in October with a group of Fourth graders from Flatirons Elementary school to meet this requirement. Going forward we will be aiming to celebrate Arbor Day in mid-April. Watch this blog for more information regarding this year's event to be posted closer to April.

The fifth standard is aimed at 'service learning project' engaging campus students in participation in the campus tree care program. Vince Aquino provided leadership for a group of students on a Russian Olive (indentified as a noxious, invasive species) mitigation prject at the South Campus property to meet the requirements of this standard. Vince had done a post about this project a month ago on this blog.

Going forward, the committee will be working on continuing efforts in each of the five core areas throughout 2011 with the goal of maintaining our 'certified' status. We have a few more ambitious goals (that may take longer than a year to complete) such as getting the campus-or at least a portion of it-established as an Arboretum and the development of a detailed campus tree inventory.