The University of Central Florida has earned its first Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation.
Twenty-five schools were recognized by Tree Campus USA, and UCF is one of only three Florida schools that made the list. As part of the distinction, UCF Land & Natural Resources will plant about 300 new trees on campus to celebrate Arbor Day and the national honor.
The recognition will be celebrated during an Arbor Day award ceremony beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday, April 1, in Garden Key Room (221) of the Student Union.
Tree Campus USA distinguishes colleges and universities for promoting healthy management of their campus forests and for engaging the community in projects to help preserve the environment.
“By encouraging its students to plant trees and participate in service that will help the environment, UCF is making a positive impact on its community that will last for decades,” said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation.
To receive Tree Campus USA status, UCF met the five core standards of tree care and community engagement. The standards are: establishing a campus tree advisory committee; completing a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures to the plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and completing service-learning projects engaging the student body.
“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 Orlando will certainly benefit from the university’s commitment to Tree Campus USA,” Rosenow said.
The benefits of trees include improved air quality and decreased energy consumption, said Alaina Bernard, UCF’s land manager.
“Trees improve the quality of life on campus by making it a more beautiful and enjoyable place to live, work and play, while mitigating the campus’ environmental impact,” she said.
UCF’s Landscape & Natural Resources department supports the university’s mission through its comprehensive outdoor laboratory that creates opportunities for relevant, experience-based learning, urban ecology research and human connection with ecosystems and landscapes.
The department seeks to enrich the community by creating and maintaining an inviting outdoor environment, providing high quality service for operational activities and generating research and educational initiatives that guide stewardship of natural resources.
To learn more about the Tree Campus USA program, go to http://www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/.
For more information about UCF “green” initiatives, visit http://green.ucf.edu.