U of L Designated ‘Tree Campus USA’

U of L officials planted a tree as part of the award ceremony.The University of Louisville has been recognized for its efforts caring for and managing trees on the Belknap campus. The university received the “Tree Campus USA” designation in a ceremony this afternoon.

To be a “Tree Campus USA,” universities must take certain measures to ensure their trees are well-maintained and live long, healthy lives.

Mary Widhelm works for the Arbor Day Foundation, which grants the designation.

“We’re just really proud of the university here and everything that they’ve done,” she said. “They’ve got so many great initiatives taking place with their Earthfest, they have urban wildlife studies that they’re doing, tree inventories led by students, so there’s a lot of initiatives taking place that show that they’re taking this seriously.”

She says a campus doesn’t have to have a certain number of trees to qualify for the distinction.

“So for a campus that doesn’t have a lot of trees, it helps them lay out exactly what they’ll be doing to make sure that those trees will be there for generations to come,” she said. “And for those that do already have a lot of trees it helps them to ensure that they’re taking care of and that there’s proper pruning and that they also will be there for years to come.”

More than 100 colleges were named “Tree Campus USA” last year. As part of the award, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota donated 100 trees to the U of L, 25 of which were planted by students.

Several other Kentucky schools have already received the designation. U of L officials jokingly noted that the University of Kentucky is not among them, despite the school’s forestry program.