WMU to celebrate Arbor Day, Tree Campus recertification

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Photo of trees near WMU's Valley Pond.

Public tree planting Thursday, April 19, in Goldsworth Valley.

KALAMAZOO--Western Michigan University will celebrate national Arbor Day as well as the University's fourth straight Tree Campus USA certification during a public tree planting ceremony at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, April 19, in Goldsworth Valley near the gazebo.

WMU landscape services staff will be planting a swamp white oak, a tree native to the Midwest that does well in low-lying and boggy environments and provides food and habitat for wildlife. Those attending the tree planting ceremony are welcome to add a shovel of soil to the planting.

The event will include a short program with Aleksandra Voznitza, a WMU student majoring in environmental studies and in biology from Lemont, Ill., discussing plant grafting. Also, landscape services staffers will talk about the University's Arbor Day history and recent landscaping projects.

In addition, WMU will be touted for earning the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus designation for 2011, in recognition of its commitment to effective community forestry management.

Tree Campus USA is a national program launched in 2008 and supported by a grant from Toyota. It honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff members in the spirit of conservation. For 2011, 147 campuses nationwide received the designation. WMU and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor were among the nation's 30 inaugural Tree Campuses and are still the only Michigan institutions to have achieved this status.

To be recertified each year, schools must meet five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: sponsoring student service-learning projects and having a tree advisory committee, a tree-care plan, an Arbor Day observance, and dedicated annual expenditures for their campus tree program.

WMU stages its annual tree planting ceremony prior to the national observance of Arbor Day--the last Friday in April--to avoid holding the event during spring final examinations week.

For more information, contact Darrell Junkins, WMU grounds supervisor in landscape services, at darrell.junkins@wmich.edu or (269) 387-8557.