The Arbor Day Foundation has awarded the University of Tennessee at Martin the 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition for its dedication to effective forest management and promoting student engagement in conservation practices.
In order to obtain the distinction, UT Martin met five required standards for sustainable campus forestry, including establishing a tree advisory committee and a campus tree care plan; allocating annual expenditures for the tree program; hosting an Arbor Day observance; and sponsoring student service-learning projects.
“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 UT Martin’s participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty trees provide.”
UT Martin is also designated as a Level 1 Arboretum by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council for having at least 30 trees planted and identified on campus. Through a partnership with the City of Martin, which is a designated Tree City, USA, the university continues to increase the number of trees and species planted on campus and supports their growth.
“This designation means several things for UT Martin,” explained Dr. Eric Pelren, professor of wildlife biology and coordinator of the university’s Center for Sustainability. “First, it recognizes the efforts of our grounds crew and administration as outstanding stewards of the campus trees that we all love so much. Second, it provides us access to outstanding informational resources of the Arbor Foundation and its partners to continue and improve upon our good work sustainably managing our campus and its trees. It also keeps us on our toes and holds us to the high standards of tree care and educational outreach to which we’ve committed.
“New trees, and species, are being planted on our grounds every year, and we have every reason to be optimistic that our campus trees will continue to be there for teaching, research, outreach and enjoyment for generations to come,” Pelren continued.