KALAMAZOO, Mich.—WMU will be celebrating 10 years as a Tree Campus USA university when it stages its annual Arbor Day celebration at 10 a.m. Friday, April 27, on the grounds of Heritage Hall.
The event will include a short program prior to the planting of a Canadian hemlock—the state tree of Pennsylvania. The hemlock will be planted in honor of Edward and Kari Montgomery, WMU's president and first lady, and their family. The couple was asked to select the tree that will be planted.
Tree Campus USA is a national Arbor Day Foundation program launched in 2008 and sponsored in partnership with Toyota. It honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
Tree Campus program
WMU was one of only 29 U.S. colleges and universities, and just two in Michigan, recognized by the Tree Campus program during its inaugural year. It has been recertified every year since.
To be certified, schools must meet five core standards for effective campus forest management: maintain a tree advisory committee, have a campus tree-care plan, dedicate annual expenditures for their campus tree program, hold an Arbor Day observance and support a student service-learning project.
This year, 344 schools were granted Tree Campus status in recognition of their efforts during 2017. They invested more than $48 million combined in campus forest management last year alone.
"Our landscape services staff is comprised of many tree-caring professionals, so we were thankful when the Arbor Day Foundation created Tree Campus USA," says Darrell Junkins, a grounds supervisor in landscape services. "As a matter of fact, we were able to apply and become certified the very first year because we already met two key requirements. We had an established tree-care policy in place and had been celebrating Arbor Day in previous years."
Junkins adds that establishing a Tree Campus USA Advisory Board at the University has been a rewarding experience because it has brought together representatives from the city of Kalamazoo and WMU students, faculty and staff to protect and improve the campus environment and share their love of trees.
He also notes that the University continually plants trees, offsetting ones that are in the path of construction but won't survive relocation, or must be removed due to old age and disease or because they are an invasive species.
For more information about the Tree Campus USA program at WMU, visit wmich.edu/facilities/landscape/beautification. More information about this Arbor Day Foundation designation is available by visiting arborday.org and clicking Our Work.
For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.