Danforth Campus named a Tree Campus USA by Arbor Day Foundation

WUSTL is among first Missouri schools to receive honor

Washington University in St. Louis has been named a Tree Campus USA for 2010 by the Arbor Day Foundation. WUSTL is among the first schools in Missouri to receive the honor.

Tree Campus USA is a distinction given by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize schools across the United States for their dedication to healthy campus forestry management and engaging the community in environmental stewardship. The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization that seeks to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.

“It is an honor for Washington University to be recognized nationally for its dedication to the environmentally responsible management of our trees, and for our programs to educate our campus and outside community on the beautiful variety of trees we have on the Danforth Campus,” says Kent Theiling, grounds manager/horticulturist for the Danforth Campus.

Currently, the Danforth Campus is home to approximately 3,800 trees. Bald Cypress, Valley Forge Elm, Gingko, Swamp White Oak, and Tulip Poplar are among the 46 different tree species and 76 varieties on campus.

According to the foundation, WUSTL met its five core standards of tree care and community engagement required to receive Tree Campus USA status:

  • establish a campus tree advisory committee;
  • evidence of a campus tree-care plan;
  • verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan;
  • involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and
  • the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

The Danforth Campus tree advisory committee includes four members of WUSTL’s Department of Biology in Arts & Sciences — Kenneth M. Olsen, PhD, assistant professor; Mike Dyer, greenhouse supervisor; and graduate students Katherine Geist and Jennifer Gruhn — and members of local communities, including the City of St. Louis, Clayton and University City. All three of those cities have been awarded a Tree City USA designation by the Arbor Day Foundation as well.

“By encouraging its students to plant trees and participate in service that will help the environment, Washington University is making a positive impact on its community that will last for decades,” says John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.

“One goal of the Tree Campus USA program is to help create healthier communities for its citizens through the planting of trees, and the City of St. Louis will certainly benefit from the university’s commitment to Tree Campus USA,” Rosenow says.

The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in the fall of 2008 by planting trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States. Twenty-nine schools were named a Tree Campus USA in 2008, and in three years the number of schools has more than tripled to more than 100.

For more information about the Tree Campus USA program, visit arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

Arbor tours of the Danforth Campus, which are led by Theiling and organized by Kim Shilling, assistant director of student services at the School of Engineering & Applied Science, are held twice a year, in the spring and fall. During the tour, participants learn more about the different kinds of trees located on campus. To be added to the mailing list for Danforth Campus arbor tour announcements, e-mail Shilling at KShilling@wustl.edu.