Two fall Tree Campus USA events down, three left to go

Earlier this month, the Foundation was in Boulder, where students and staff at the University of Colorado experienced the challenges and opportunities of urban forestry first-hand, planting 40 laurel oaks along the interface between the campus and a major city thoroughfare.

On Monday, we were in the Valley Glen neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley to plant trees at Los Angeles Valley College, the first community college and first Southern California institution to participate in the Tree Campus USA program.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, or AASHE, helped with the event, which resulted in 30 new trees on the north mall of the urban campus.

The Foundation will be in Dover, Delaware, for a tree planting at Delaware State University on Tuesday, October 30. LaSalle University in Philadelphia will plant trees on November 1, and Georgia State University in Atlanta will hold their event November 10.

These events are terrific way for current or future Tree Campus USA participants to step up their commitment to conservation and give service-minded students a chance to roll up their sleeves and do something positive for the campus community. We appreciate having Toyota as a continued partner in our effort to grow the next generation of environmental stewards.

We hope, too, that these events will inspire even more colleges and universities to take the steps needed to qualify for Tree Campus USA as we begin accepting applications for 2012.

Information on First-year applications and recertifications is available here.

We put this video about the University of Pennsylvania together after an event there in 2010.

At the University of Colorado, students experience the challenges and opportunities of urban forestry up-close

I just returned from our first Tree Campus USA event this fall at the University of Colorado Boulder.

This was my second time attending a tree planting event on behalf of the Foundation – the first was at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers this past January.

It’s exciting to see how colleges and universities across the country are growing their community forests – and finding creative ways to improve the campus quality-of-life and student experience through tree planting and care.

At Florida Gulf Coast University, the 40 laurel oak trees were planted by students near the center of campus, adding much needed shade for students who break a sweat just getting to class in the humid air.

In Boulder, however, the planting we did was at the interface between the campus and the city, alongside a new bike path and a major highway just east of the Coors Event Center.

As senior grounds specialist Alan Nelson told us, the 35 gambel oak trees will do a lot for the edge of campus, creating a more inviting barrier. Planting in a confined space, on an incline, with speeding traffic on one side and chain-link fence separating us from construction on the other, this project was a terrific example of the realities of urban forestry.

Joining the participating students were a number of campus staff, as well as employees with the City of Boulder’s forestry and parks and recreation divisions, including City Forester Kathleen Alexander. Keith Wood, Community Forester with the Colorado Division of Forestry, also participated and made brief remarks.

We’re looking forward to the rest of our fall 2012 tree planting events - Los Angeles Valley College in Valley Glen, CA; Delaware State University in Dover, DE; LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA; and Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.

Speakers (left to right): Keith Wood, Colorado Division of Forestry; Sean Barry, Arbor Day Foundation; Dave Newport, Director, Environmental Center; Alan Nelson, Senior Grounds Specialist; (Not Pictured: Steve Thweatt, Executive Director, Facilities Management)

On Arbor Day, Colorado still recovering from decade-old forest fire

Every year, Colorado honors Arbor Day on the third Friday of April, joining many other states that recognize Arbor Day early to take advantage of the optimal planting season.

Part of Colorado’s scenic beauty and natural resources stem from the Pike and San Isabel National Forests that span three million acres in central and southeast Colorado. More than 60 percent of the water used by Denver-area residents originates in the forest as rain or snowmelt.

When the Hayman Fire – the largest fire in Colorado’s history – burned approximately 137,000 acres in 2002, moderate and high intensity burn areas suffered 100 percent tree loss, along with the loss of future seed sources for natural regeneration.

Thanks to the help of Arbor Day Foundation partners, 140,000 ponderosa pine and Douglasfir trees were recently planted.  Wildlife is beginning to return to the area and newly planted trees are now covering a landscape once barren and charred. (Ed. Note: Two Arbor Day Foundation staff members were at Pike National Forest – pictured below – last week, alongside employees of Enterprise, a critical supporter in replanting national forests. Coverage of the activity is available here and here).

The State of Colorado honors Arbor Day with tree plantings and festivals. Colorado also involves fifth graders in recognizing Arbor Day by holding a yearly, statewide, Arbor Day Poster Contest. All Colorado communities have the opportunity to participate and tailor the contest to involve more students if necessary (grades K-6th). Typically, a winning poster is chosen from the local level to compete at the overall State level. This year’s Arbor Day poster theme for Colorado is “Celebrate Trees in Our Community.” You can check out Colorado’s winning poster from last year here.

The State of Colorado is currently home to 93 Tree City USA communities. The largest Tree City USA in Colorado is Denver, population 598,007; the smallest is Campo, population 154.

Photo credit: Coe Roberts