OBU has been honored with 2017 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for the University’s commitment to effective urban forest management. The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
OBU achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 344 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
The University achieved this recognition by also completing such projects as planting unusual trees, developing a water-wise criterion for choosing new specimens, and planting a Survivor Tree seedling from the Oklahoma City Memorial Survivor Tree. OBU was also the only Arboretum in Oklahoma for 2017 granted ArbNet Accreditation Level II.
OBU was recently recognized by Oklahoma Forestry Services and the Oklahoma Urban and Community Forestry Council for achieving this national certification from the Arbor Day Foundation. The University was among 37 Oklahoma organizations recently honored at the state Arbor Week Kickoff celebration held at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma celebrates Arbor Week March 25-31 this year.
“We are pleased to honor and showcase the Oklahoma cities, universities and utility companies that are dedicated to planting and managing trees in public areas,” said Oklahoma Forestry Services Director George Geissler. “We hope that other organizations will consider working toward their Arbor Day Foundation certification to benefit our all of our communities.”
Robert Marquardt, manager of facilities services at OBU, is proud of this achievement which has been reached collaboratively through the work of so many on campus.
“Being designated as a Tree Campus USA will help create a campus that not only benefits the environment but also instills pride in our students, faculty, staff and community,” he said. “In Genesis 1:28, God entrusted us with His awesome works, meaning the wise use and loving care of His creation and its resources. This designation is a great way to show others our belief in and commitment to that commission.”
Lisa Hair, groundskeeper II and master gardener at OBU, is thrilled for the development of the campus arboretum and gratified by this national and statewide recognition.
“We at OBU want to be good stewards of God’s creation,” she said. “We wish to show our faculty, staff and student body how beneficial trees are for the health of the world and their own well-being.”
Hair is currently working with three OBU computer science students, who are developing an app to catalog and map all of the trees on campus. The app will make it possible to look up a tree and learn about its benefits to the environment. All trees on campus are numbered and logged in a database that can be accessed from the app, which is expected to be completed in the coming months.
The University will be holding its annual Arbor Day Celebration Wednesday, March 28, at 1:30 p.m. The event will take place in front of Taylor Residence Center on the north side of Macarthur, where the campus tree committee will plant a juniper. The public is invited to attend.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $48 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.