Students dig into campus sustainability

Tree-planting
Students gather April 21 to plant trees in BGSU’s campaign to become a Tree Campus USA

BGSU is one step closer to becoming a Tree Campus USA after an early celebration of Arbor Day during the University’s Earth Week. On April 21, the Office of Campus Sustainability brought students, Campus Operations and community members together for a tree planting. About 30 students volunteered to plant the three trees, 7-foot Norway spruces provided by Dasani. The students dug the holes between Kohl Hall and Carillon Place without any assistance from machinery.

The first Arbor Day was observed April 10, 1872, in Nebraska, during which an estimated one million trees were planted. Since then it has developed into a civic holiday in Nebraska and is celebrated across the country on the last Friday in April. Over 250 million trees have been planted since the Arbor Day Foundation was formed in 1972.

One Arbor Day initiative is to increase the number and variety of trees across the country by having Tree Campuses host tree plantings. BGSU is pursuing designation as a Tree Campus USA.

“The tree-plantings are a great way to show students an action that can be taken to help the environment in a very real way,” Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, campus sustainability manager, said. “These trees will produce oxygen and will also each remove a sizable amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, assisting with the reduction of our carbon footprint, especially when added to the other trees planted across campus all year.

“The trees are expected to grow an average of 12 to 18 feet per year. They are also active at reducing storm water runoff and, of course, a great addition to the landscape.”

The trees enhance campus sustainability efforts, and the Tree Campus USA effort will continue to involve representatives from campus and community environmental clubs.

The tree plantings fulfill one of the five standards for obtaining the Tree Campus USA designation. The standards include: forming a campus tree advisory board, creating a campus tree care plan, allocating funding through a campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, celebrating Arbor Day, and outreach through a service-learning project.