Tree Campus Higher Education

UMSL received the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education certification for the third straight year in recognition of its efforts to cultivate and maintain trees on campus. (Photos by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis campus owes much of its beauty to the more than 2,400 trees growing amid its buildings.

Whether they’re flowering in the springtime, changing colors in the fall or providing shade in the months between, they decorate the landscape and make the campus a serene reprieve from the bustling roadways nearby.

The Arbor Day Foundation has once again recognized UMSL for its efforts to cultivate and maintain the trees on campus through its Tree Campus Higher Education certification. UMSL first received the certification in 2019.

Trees outside Marillac Hall

The University of Missouri–St. Louis is home to more than 2,400, contributing to the beauty of the campus as they change with the different seasons.

“UMSL understands the importance of trees and remains committed to these living anchors for not only campus beautification but for the enjoyment of all,” UMSL Grounds Supervisor Gregory Ward said. “As we celebrate three years of Tree Campus Higher Education, we understand this is only the beginning as we serve to be better stewards of the land we occupy.”

The Tree Campus Higher Education program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

Currently there are 403 campuses across the United States that have received this recognition.

UMSL achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus Higher Education’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.

“Trees provide innumerable benefits from anxiety-relief, to providing shelter for birds and pollinators, to increased property values and lower ambient temperatures on a hot day,” Ward said. “Trees are the anchor for most successful ecosystems, especially in urban settings.”

The Missouri Conservationist Magazine is featuring UMSL in its April 2021 issue in a story titled “Putting Down Roots,” which highlights several of the nine Missouri colleges and universities to receive the Tree Campus Higher Education designation.

The magazine spoke to recent UMSL graduate Madison Hallbrooks, who was among the participants in UMSL’s Arbor Day celebration that included planting trees on South Campus last fall.

Ward was also quoted about the way UMSL has used funding from the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Tree Resource Improvement & Maintenance Grant to help maintain campus trees.

“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty trees provide.”

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus Higher Education colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year.

This work directly supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s “Time for Trees” initiative — an unprecedented effort to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire 5 million tree planters by 2022. Last year, Tree Campus Higher Education schools have collectively planted 39,178 trees and engaged 81,535 tree planters — helping universities work toward these critical goals.

More information about the program is available at treecampushighered.org.

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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