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It’s Not So Easy Being Green

What Goes Into Being a Tree Campus

Students+and+staff+celebrated+Arbor+Day+in+2015+with+the+planting+of+several+trees.
Students and staff celebrated Arbor Day in 2015 with the planting of several trees.

Students and staff celebrated Arbor Day in 2015 with the planting of several trees.

Students and staff celebrated Arbor Day in 2015 with the planting of several trees.

Savanah Seyer, Staff Writer

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One of the defining features of SLU’s campus is its beautiful trees. Many students lay underneath the trees for shade, take pictures by them for Instagram, of course breathe in the air they provide for us and enjoy them every day on campus, especially in the spring when the weather is nice.

However, very few students recognize the work and dedication that goes into maintaining SLU’s beautiful trees, and the effort that it takes to make sure that new trees are planted for SLU students to enjoy for years to come. Saint Louis University is a recognized “Tree Campus USA.” Tree Campus USA is a program started and run by the Arbor Day Foundation. The program promotes the welfare of campus trees, and education to the campus and surrounding community about the importance of trees. Ground Supervisor Jim Anthony at SLU has been working on SLU’s Tree Campus USA program since it started in 2012. “It is to bring awareness to trees and good stewardship on the properties,” said Anthony.

To become a Tree Campus, a school must apply and meet five different requirements.

The first requirement is that the school must have a Campus Tree Advisory Committee. Anthony says that SLU’s committee is made up of faculty, staff and students. The team meets and discusses their second requirement, their Tree Care Plan. “[The Tree Care Plan includes] how to prune, when to plant, where to plant [and] how to plant,” said Anthony. The plan must include future goals for the teams, and all of the policies that the teams put in place for their tree-planting mission.

The campus is required to dedicate annual expenditures to the program, which is the third requirement. This money is put toward the cost of trees, labor and other aspects of the tree-planting program.

The fourth requirement to be a Tree Campus is some form of recognition for Arbor Day. Every year the SLU team has an Arbor Day Event on campus, where they plant trees and educate others about the benefits of trees.

The fifth and final requirement for Tree Campuses is a Service Learning Project. This is a part of the program in which the SLU team is very dedicated. Anthony said that the SLU team has been doing service projects for the last five years.

“We typically go to high schools and donate trees to the school, talk to the kids about trees and help them plant them,” said Anthony. The team has helped local high schools in the St. Louis area and schools out in the state, such as one in Louisiana, Missouri. Anthony said that the team not only helps plant trees but protects them as well.

Whenever new buildings are built on campus, the team works with the contractors and construction companies to make sure that trees in the area will be protected. There’s no doubt that this program has helped SLU’s campus to be a more beautiful and healthier area. “It’s all about maintaining [trees] and being good stewards of the area,” said Anthony.

According to Anthony, in one year, the team planted 160 trees alone. However, over 250 have become part of SLU’s campus within a six-year period. Universities that fall under the certified “Tree Campus USA” have shown to reduce the amount of energy that the campuses need to generate. Green spaces also reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which, in turn, leads to the decline of co-pollutants circulating the air students breathe.

1 Comment

One Response to “It’s Not So Easy Being Green”

  1. Aristide on May 6th, 2018 5:53 pm

    SLU needs more trees. Hard wood, slow growing trees that will last potentially hundreds of years. The decimation of trees on the parking lot where the new Grand Hall stands was simply deplorable. SLU has long had a love affair with lifeless unattractive concrete. It is time to start the romance with trees and green space. Here is an idea, take the parking lot across from Spring Hall and turn it into green space and plant some trees!

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