SUNY Oneonta has been recognized as a 2018 Tree Campus USA® by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
SUNY Oneonta achieved the recognition by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards:
- maintaining a tree advisory committee;
- having a campus tree-care plan;
- dedicating annual expenditures for a campus tree program and
- holding an Arbor Day observance; and
- organized a student service-learning project.
Currently, there are 364 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but for the surrounding communities by showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of SUNY Oneonta’s participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”
According to Rachel Kornhauser, the college's sustainability coordinator, SUNY Oneonta students have been actively involved in obtaining the Arbor Day Foundation certification both in 2016 and 2018. The certification recognized students hosting Arbor Day activities during Green Dragon Week, leading campus tree tours, quizzing participants on local tree identification and presenting their findings at the college’s Student Research and Creativity Day.
“Last spring, two students worked to update a campus GIS map which, once finalized, will allow the campus community to identify tree species throughout campus,” Kornhauser said. “The map will also help serve as a planning tool for future plantings.”
Kornhauser added that the Environmental Science Club annually participates in service-learning projects of tree plantings within Otsego and Delaware counties with local non-profits. The Arbor Day Foundation honor recognized SUNY Oneonta students for planting over 700 trees and shrubs in the local community.
“This year a student representative is serving with faculty and staff on a tree advisory committee to plan for tree care and maintenance,” said Kornhauser. “She has created pamphlets of notable trees on campus to encourage the campus community and visitors to become more familiar with the campus environment.” The student research will be shared at the college’s Arbor Day celebration held during this year's Green Dragon Week, April 15-19.
“Trees provide great benefits including carbon storage, nutrient cycling, water and air purification, maintenance of wildlife habitat and green spaces for everyone to enjoy to name a few,” said Kornhauser. “But most importantly, the college’s commitment to trees creates a sustainable future for us all.”
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year.