For the ninth year, Georgia Tech is being recognized for its welcoming and inclusive environment for leafy friends.
Tech earned recognition as a Tree Campus USA for 2016 from the Arbor Day Foundation. The program honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and for engaging students, faculty, and staff in the spirit of conservation.
“It’s always exciting when we are recognized as one of the elite universities that maintains its trees,” said Hyacinth Ide, associate director for Landscape Services and Fleet Services.
The Arbor Day Foundation recognizes universities based on five standards for sustainable campus forestry, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Tech has long been a leader among colleges and universities for dedication to its tree canopy. Recent developments include having the campus designated a Level II arboretum in 2016, which built on a campus tree inventory and other proactive measures to prioritize campus oxygen creators.
Landscape Services is now beginning a five-year process of renewing the campus tree inventory, tackling one area at a time based on sectors of campus designated in the arboretum plan.
“The purpose is to look at each tree, find out what may be wrong with it, and what we need to do about it,” Ide said. Landscape Services then determines what work can be taken care of in-house, such as pruning, versus what might require a contractor, such as removing a large tree.
In 2016, Landscape Services completed the first area being evaluated — central campus — and inventoried nearly 2,000 trees. Any tree greater than two inches in diameter is captured in the inventory.
Another new initiative is looking for ways to recycle trees when they have to be removed. Landscape Services keeps tree remains stored for future opportunities to mill and use the processed wood on campus in other ways.
The campus community can learn more about the arboretum thanks to signage at many campus trees that specifies the type of tree, place of origin, and environmental benefits. More information is also available at arboretum.gatech.edu.