COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus campus of The Ohio State University has been certified as a "Tree Campus USA" by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Campus officials got the word on Jan. 12, just about three months after coordinating "ArboBlitz 2011," a four-day event featuring tree lectures, tree tours, tree-care demonstrations, and tree inventory and mapping activities.
Though ArboBlitz was designed as a concentrated effort to help the campus reach its goal of becoming a Tree Campus USA, the undertaking has been years in the making, said Mary Maloney, director of the university's Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens.
"We've always celebrated Arbor Day," Maloney said, "and a Tree Advisory Committee was formed on campus in 2010 when two 200-year-old sycamore trees -- which actually served as markers on the Underground Railroad -- were put at risk when a temporary road was planned along John Herrick Drive."
Since then, a broad spectrum of campus entities have worked more closely together to protect campus trees and the landscape, including Chadwick Arboretum; Facilities Operations and Development; Ohio State University Extension; the Office of Student Affairs; the Humanities Institute; the Department of Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology; and the landscape architecture program of the Knowlton School of Architecture.
The Tree Campus USA designation is possible when a campus meets the Arbor Day Foundation's five criteria of establishing:
A campus tree advisory committee.
A campus tree care plan.
A campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures.
An annual Arbor Day observance.
A service-learning project.
As a result of Arboblitz, Maloney said, a new campus-wide student/faculty club has formed that is continuing work on the campus tree inventory program, in which all campus trees will be identified, measured and mapped. Maloney hopes the information can someday be integrated into the information available in the "Buckeye Stroll," available on Ohio State's mobile app.
Already, the value of many campus trees has been calculated using the U.S. Forest Service's "i-Tree" software, which measures the value trees offer in storm-water mitigation, carbon sequestration, heating and cooling abilities, aesthetics, and the ability to abate particulate matter that causes asthma.
The university will celebrate the Tree Campus USA certification on Arbor Day, Friday, April 27, at 10 a.m. on the Oval, where a newly planted tree will be dedicated.