The national Arbor Day Foundation has designated Centre College a 2019 Tree Campus USA®, the ninth year in a row the College has been honored for its commitment to beautification and effective urban forest management.
The national program was created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. Centre met the required five core standards of tree care and community engagement to earn its Tree Campus USA designation. The five core standards are:
- Establish a campus tree advisory committee.
- Have a campus tree-care plan in place.
- Dedicate annual expenditures for campus trees.
- Observe Arbor Day on campus.
- Institute service-learning projects aimed at engaging the student body.
The vision of the Arbor Day Foundation is to help others understand and use trees as a solution to many of the global issues we face today, including air quality, water quality, a changing climate, deforestation, poverty and hunger.
“It can be easy to take trees for granted, but they are absolutely critical to maintaining balance on our planet—supporting clean air and water, healthy food and a livable climate,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation.
In 2019, the Foundation announced the launch of its Time for Trees initiative, a commitment to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities worldwide by 2022—the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day.
In addition to the ongoing care for the campus forest, Centre’s Van Winkle Professor of Sociology Beau Weston founded the Danville Tree Project. His 10-year plan is to plant 500 trees along Danville streets, with an emphasis on native trees. He organized a group, including the city, the county extension office, the community foundation and other interested citizens to seek a series of matching grants from Kentucky Utilities to plant trees on the main streets of town.
First Lady Susie Roush is an ardent arborist and advocate for Centre’s urban forest. In recognition of her tireless efforts, life trustee David Grissom and his wife, Marlene, made a generous gift of $500,000 in 2012 to create an endowment in Susie’s honor called the Susie Roush Campus Beautification Fund. Income from the endowment is used to enhance campus landscaping, with special emphasis on acquiring and maintaining deciduous trees. In addition, Trustee John Barton has enabled Centre, through personal connections, to get valuable advice from numerous tree experts.
In recent years, the Hope Springs Fund that comes from the year-end campus garage sale after Commencement, as well as the Snowy Owl Foundation, have granted funds for the planting of the new trees on campus.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. The foundation has assisted schools across the country in planting thousands of trees.
Learn more about how Centre students, faculty and staff remain dedicated to a variety of environmental and sustainability efforts year-round.
by Cindy Long
February 20, 2020