This year marks the fifth consecutive year Centre College has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a program that seeks to help colleges and universities establish and sustain healthy community forests.
Centre earned its 2015 Tree Campus USA designation by meeting the five required standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee; sustaining a care plan for trees on campus; dedicating annual expenditures towards tree care; observing Arbor Day; and supporting student service-learning projects.
First Lady Susie Roush, an ardent arborist and advocate for Centre’s urban forest, has participated in many different tree-related activities on campus. In recognition of her tireless efforts, 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 landscaping, with special emphasis on acquiring and maintaining deciduous trees throughout campus.
Thanks to their generosity, three new 5” caliper Beech trees, two American Beech and one Copper Beech will be planted in designated locations on campus this spring.
“The Copper Beech will be located within Mr. Lincoln’s view, as I’m told it was one of his favorite trees,” Roush says.
The grounds of Centre’s campus has not only benefited from the Grissom’s love and appreciation of trees but also from the care and oversight provided by others at the College, Roush explains.
“Many dedicated staff, faculty, alums and volunteers are consistently and conscientiously assessing Centre’s tree resources,” she says. “Caring for our campus forest includes planting new trees, safety pruning, trimming, mulching, watering, pest control and tree removal. Sustaining a healthy campus forest is a time-consuming and expensive proposition.”
A case in point is an upcoming project to protect against a deadly infestation. This spring, Centre crews will be drenching the roots or injecting the Ash trees on campus in an effort to ward-off the destructive Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive pest from China that entered the U.S. on cargo ships via the Saint Lawrence Seaway and the Great Lakes. Millions of Ash trees in the North Midwest have died due to the infestation of this invasive pest.
Roush goes on to note numerous trees given as gifts by alumni, including David Ray ’59, John Barton ’79, and Marlene and David Grissom ’60. Additionally, she is particularly grateful to John C. Walkup Professor of Chemistry Preston Miles for his leading role in securing the College’s multiple Tree Campus USA designations.
“The value of trees is far-reaching in their beauty, their impact on the environment and education,” Roush says. “Planting trees also encourages us to think about the welfare of future generations and how trees will impact the lives of those who follow us.
“My father, also a tree lover, shared with me when I was very young that it is our responsibility to plant trees for the next generation,” she adds.
The Centre community will celebrate Arbor Day later this spring by planting a young tree, a project that will involve Centre’s After-School program.
Learn more about sustainability at Centre.
Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org.
by Cindy Long