For the third year in a row, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte has earned recognition from Tree Campus USA, a national program by the Arbor Day Foundation that honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students in conservation.
To earn the 2016 Tree Campus USA recognition, the school had to meet the organization’s five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditure for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
In 2014, UNC Charlotte established its tree advisory committee, which is made up of students, faculty, staff and community members and meets twice per year. Dave Cable, who heads philanthropy and special projects for TreesCharlotte, has been a member of the committee since its inception.
“It made a lot of sense to have Dave on the committee so that I could see the methods TreesCharlotte uses to get people together,” says Peter Franz, campus landscape architect at UNC Charlotte, who chairs the Tree Campus USA committee. “I think that’s been very successful.”
Through the partnership, the university’s students have also become involved with TreesCharlotte, volunteering and participating in the organization’s events.
At its spring tree planting event last year, UNC Charlotte students and faculty planted 150 trees, and the school has a goal of increasing the tree canopy of the campus core to 52 percent. The university is also working to develop a tree inventory for management and educational use. A geographic information system (GIS) database is also being established to track UNC Charlotte’s tree canopy, calculate stormwater runoff reduction and study heat island reduction.