The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the Great Plains

Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA’s. Our NCAA series continues with the following list of Tree Campus USA’s in the Great Plains region.

Creighton_mall_west[1]Creighton University: Creighton has been designated a Tree Campus USA for six years. Creighton was also recognized in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges, the only Nebraska college to earn such recognition.

Kansas State University: KSU received recognition ANDERSON[1]as a Tree Campus USA for the first time in 2013. KSU’s campus is also an arboretum and offers visitors self-guided tree tours.

North Dakota State University: NDSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. The campus arboretum crew at NDSU plants 50-75 trees every year.NDSU

Oklahoma State University: OSU-Library[1]OSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years.

SLUSaint Louis University: SLU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for two years. The university has also been named a ‘Cool School’ by the Sierra Club for its commitment to sustainability.

KUUniversity of Kansas: KU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for two years.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: UNL has been designated a unlTree Campus USA for six years. The campus landscape services maintain more than 9,000 trees across the two campuses. The landscape is valued at more than $9.1 million.

The Real March Madness – Spring has Sprung on Tree Campus USA Campuses Across the West

When folks think of a quality institution of higher learning, they often think of academics, athletics, and the quality of life on campus, which includes its natural beauty, of which trees play a major part. Of the 68 National Collegiate Athletic Association teams playing in this year’s tournament, we found 29 colleges that have been recognized as 2013 Tree Campus USA’s. Our NCAA series will highlight the 2013 recognized Tree Campus USA schools as divided by region. Below is our first list of NCAA Tree Campus USA teams in the West Region.

igwKFmtSCJdY[1]Arizona State University: ASU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for six years. ASU’s Tempe campus encompasses Arizona’s largest public arboretum with more than 900 species and is nationally recognized. It’s also the oldest continually managed green space in Arizona.

campus[1]University of Arizona: The UA has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for five years. In addition, UA received a gold rating for sustainability in 2012 by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).

Stanford University: Stanford is new to the Tree Campus USA community, gaining recognition for the first time in 2013. location[1]The campus also recognizes ‘significant trees’ — trees selected as outstanding and deserving of special protection because of their rarity, age, or historical importance.

University of Colorado- Boulder: CU has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA for four years. campusphoto[1]CU isn’t only working to make their campus greener, but their stadiums too. Ralphie’s Green Stampede is a campus initiative to move toward a zero-waste football stadium, converting virtually all public food and beverage packaging to recyclable or compostable materials and containers.

Texas Southern University: TSU has been a designated Tree Campus USA for three years.TSU_SB[1]

University of Texas Austin: UT has been designated a Tree Campus USA for 6 years, University of Texas Austin campus at sunset-dusk - aerial viewand is one of the first three campuses in the nation to become a Tree Campus USA. UT’s trees are estimated to be valued at $25 million.

Weber State University: 8421682_orig[1]WSU has been designated a Tree Campus USA for three years. WSU has also been listed in The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2013 Edition for demonstrating notable commitments to sustainability in academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities and career preparation.

Celebrating Forests Today and Every Day

Did you know that today is the International Day of Forests, as proclaimed by the United Nations?

We may think we grasp the importance of rain forests throughout the world and temperate SONY DSCdeciduous forests in our country, but forests play a much larger role than many of us realize. Today marks the global celebration of forests. International Day of Forests sets to raise awareness on the importance of all types of forests and trees outside of forests.

In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, “As we deliberate on the post-2015 development agenda, let us acknowledge the vital role of forests and pledge to work together to protect and sustainably manage these vital ecosystems.”

Consider these facts from the United Nations:

  • Forests cover 1/3 of the Earth’s land mass.
  • Approximately 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures –depend on forests for their livelihood. JaguarForests also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest dependent communities.
  • Forests are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects.
  • Forests play a key role in our attempt to adapt to and mitigating climate change. For example, they protect watersheds, which supply 75% of freshwater worldwide.

Muir Woods, Mill Valley, CAYet, despite the vital role forests play in the ecological, economic and social realms of human and planetary existence, we continue to witness global deforestation at an alarming rate. According to the United Nations, deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Learn more about what the Arbor Day Foundation is doing to protect and replant our nation’s forests as well as forests throughout the world at and

MLB Community Forestry Match Up: Cactus League v. Grapefruit League

cactus_st_logo[1] For baseball enthusiasts, it may not feel like spring until Major League Baseball spring training begins. With a few days left until opening day, we thought it appropriate to hold a match-up of our own in comparing a few of the host cities’ community forestry accomplishments.


PhoenixPhoenix has more to offer than year-long sunshine and desert. This city of one million residents is adorned with more than 92,000 trees throughout the greater Phoenix area.  These trees have benefited the city in several ways. Property value in Phoenix has increased by more than $3 million as a result of the benefits trees provide. With an annual average of more than 200 days of sunshine, it’s a good idea that the city would plant trees to help provide shade on hot days and cool things off a bit. In fact, the city’s tree canopy saves $1.1 million annually in energy costs as result of the cooling that city trees provide. Not a bad deal for living in the desert. In fact, in 2009 Phoenix set a goal to increase its tree canopy coverage from 8% to 25% by the year 2030.  In addition, Phoenix has been designated a Tree City USA community for 28 years, and Growth Award recipient 18 years.


glendaleGlendale, a growing city of more than 220,000 residents, is home to major sports venues including the University of Phoenix Stadium. Glendale boasts more than 21,000 trees that offer visitors plenty of shade under which to cool off. In fact, the city’s tree canopy helps lower energy cost by more than $116,000 a year.  Glendale’s property value has increased by nearly $500,000 as a result of the tree landscape, something residents are sure to appreciate. In addition, Glendale has been designated a Tree City USA community for 18 years.


tampaTampa, home to more than 300,000 people, features a wonder of natural sights and attractions. Among things to enjoy in the area are some of the city’s 7.8 million trees. The trees throughout the city provide approximately $3.9 million in energy savings annually. Tampa’s tree canopy coverage is at an impressive 28%. Tampa has been recognized as a Tree City USA community for 32 years.



LakeEolaOrlando504044[1]Orlando, a city of a quarter of a million people and the theme park capital of the United States, provides plenty of greenery to enjoy in between thrilling rides. Whether you’re a city slicker or tree hugger, Orlando’s 88,000 trees are something that any local or visitor can appreciate. The city launched Green Works Orlando in 2007— a plan to improve environmental sustainability in Orlando during the next generation. Since its launch, the city has saved more than $1million annually in energy costs. Orlando has a tree canopy coverage of 26%. In addition, Orlando has been designated a Tree City USA community for 37 years and Growth Award recipient for23 years.

Community forestry programs are an asset to cities, communities, and neighborhoods, contributing to their environmental and economic well-being. The benefits made possible by a healthy, vibrant community tree canopy are enjoyed by the current and future generations.

Which Cactus League or Grapefruit League city do you think earns the title in our MLB Community Forestry Match Up?


Spring has Sprung! Which trees are attracting what birds to your yard?

This time of year, we experience the arrival of spring, the leafing out of our precious trees, and take comfort in the greening of our community and the joy of the songbird.  This benefit of trees – this experience – brings forth pleasurable feelings and emotions, and creates fond memories that are priceless.

Thank you for your responses to our recent post “Planting Trees to Attract Birds.

Let’s take a look at which trees are attracting what birds to your yards.Live-Oak_1-876Sargent-Crabapple_1-821Japanese-Dogwood_1-830


Top five responses:

1. Oak (Live Oak and Red Oak)

2. Dogwood

3. Serviceberry

4. Juniper

5. Crabapple and Mulberry

Honorable mention:

holly, American mountainash, apple, aucuba, boxwood, butterfly bush, chokeberry,  cypress, elderberry,  fir, forsythia, hazel, hemlock,   laurel, lilac, maple, Norway spruce, pear, raspberry, saucer magnolia, white pine, and wild cherry.

We also had a plethora of responses regarding the type of birds our members and followers see visiting their yards.

Cardinal photo credit Brian GudzevichChickadee photo credit Eugene BeckesBluebird photo credit Henry T McLin


Top five most common birds:

1. Cardinals

2. Chickadees

3. Woodpeckers

4. Bluejays

5. Hummingbirds

Other birds that folks are seeing in their yards are wrens, robins, sparrows, catbirds, owls, crows, warblers, mockingbirds, and bluebirds!

Thanks for sharing with us!

Any other trees or birds you’d like to add to the list?

Planting Trees to Attract Birds

While birds are a joy to watch and listen to all year American-Mountainash_3-872long, it is particularly during the long winter months when their bright and cheerful presence is even more appreciated. Following an especially cold and dreary winter, the coming of spring brings thoughts of planting trees and shrubs to attract these delightful feathered friends. While they certainly enrich our lives with their presence when they grace our yards and gardens, we, too, can do much for them by providing necessary food sources and habitat.

By planting certain species of trees and shrubs, you can provide year-long natural food sources for these creatures, particularly during times of year when food is scarce. Selecting several trees or shrubs that have berries during different times of the year are great choices—and most also provide beauty in the form of spring blossoms or vibrant fall foliage. Blackhaw-Viburnum_1Great choices include Dogwood, Serviceberry, Mulberry, Viburnum, Sargent Crabapple, American Mountainash, Black Tupelo, Juniper and Winterberry Holly.

The cover trees and shrubs provide is also vital for attracting birds, as they need areas of shelter and protection for breeding, nesting, sleeping, traveling, and hiding from enemies. Many trees and shrubs can be both sources of cover and food; some good choices include Canadian Hemlock, Fir, Spruce, Eastern Redcedar, Birch, and Oak.

The Arbor Day Foundation and are great sources of information.  White-Fir_1-839Our Tree City USA Bulletin #13: Trees for Wildlife and Conservation Trees: How to Attract Songbirds and Wildlife are excellent resources.

And please remember to provide a water source. Birds, like all wildlife, need water, and by installing a bird bath or other water feature, you will attract even more birds and provide a better habitat for them. Be sure to change the water frequently and keep it free of ice in the winter.

Ready to attract birds to your yard and garden but don’t know where to start?

Among the several free landscape designs available for download is the “Hedgerow Bird Shelter” also known as the “Bird Magnet.” Bird-MagnetBird-LayoutDesigned by registered landscape architect and president of Kersey/Wike Associates, Joel T. Parker, this landscape plan is attractive to birds by way of food and shelter as well as providing visual interest for all seasons. It includes the use of Washington Hawthorne, American Cranberrybush Viburnum, Arrowwood Viburnum and Winterberry Holly. A useful addition to any bird-lover’s property, this landscape plan is a source of beauty and enjoyment. Read more about the details of this design plan on the original blog post.

Prairifire-Flowering-Crabapple_1-820The tree nursery also offers a Trees for Birds Collection, a bird-friendly tree package containing one of each of the following: Purpleleaf Sand Cherry, Prairiefire Crab, American Mountainash, Canadian Hemlock and Norway Spruce.

What trees attract birds to your yard? Do you have any specific types of birds that seem to love your trees and shrubs? Let us know in the comments.



California Celebrates Arbor Week in March

arbor-logo-lg[1]While the National Arbor Day observance is celebrated on the last Friday in April, many states have implemented state-recognized Arbor Days that reflect the best time for planting in their region.

California doesn’t only celebrate Arbor Day; the state has a whole week dedicated to educating Californians on the value trees provide to healthy cities. In 2011 the California State Assembly and Senate approved Resolution ACR 10, a measure that recognized how vital trees are to the state, and declaring the establishment of Arbor Week. Arbor Week—celebrated March 7 to March 14—encourages residents to observe the week with tree planting activities and programs.

One of the various benefits of the state celebrating Arbor Week is that it allows like-minded organizations the opportunity to work together and organize events on a larger scale.  California is home to 143 certified Tree City USA communities, 10 Tree Line USA Utilities, and four Tree Campus USA’s. We wish we could recognize each celebration. Below are highlights of a few of the Arbor Day events that took place last

Sacramento, designated a Tree City USA for 37 years and Growth Award recipient 10 years, was listed as one of the 10 Best Cities for Urban Forests.  The city launched a 30K Tree campaign in 2012—an effort to plant 30,000 trees in one year throughout the Sacramento region. During a 20-year period, 30,000 trees could collect 8.5 million tons of carbon, capture 11 million gallons of storm water, and remove 110,000 pounds of pollutants from the air.

To kick off Arbor Week and celebrate the completion of the 30K campaign, the Sacramento Tree Foundation and Joint Venture joined the mayor in a ceremonial tree planting at Pacific Elementary School. Later in the week locals were invited to McKinley Park for a community picnic. The celebration included tree tours, a chance to make ‘I Love Trees’ buttons, bead bracelet making, and music.

Ssan jose cali releafan Jose—a Tree City USA for 31 years—worked with local non-profit California ReLeaf to plant trees in schools and neighborhoods across the city. Additionally, seniors and disabled residents were given trees to plant in their yards and park strips and had help planting them from Our City Forest—a local non-profit involved in engaging the community in the maintenance of the urban ecosystem.

Cupertino held a combined Earth Day/Arbor Day festival that included 100 partners comprised of nonprofit organizations and businesses. Booths offered tips, demonstrations, and activities centered on creating a sustainable lifestyle. It was estimated that 5,000 to 7,500 community members attended the event.

Can you imagine your city without trees? Neither can we! How are you involved in maintaining your community’s tree canopy?