Some things might get old when they happen five years in a row, but for Hyacinth Ide, Georgia Tech’s associate director of landscape services, having the Institute named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation isn't one of them.
“A beautiful campus provides a recruiting and retention tool for students, faculty and staff,” said Ide. “A great number of students selected Georgia Tech because of the beauty of the campus.”
Georgia Tech occupies 400 acres in Atlanta, often referred to as the “city in a forest,” boasting 36 percent tree coverage — the highest among all major U.S. cities.
To have received the 2012 Tree Campus USA designation, a campus must have put in place five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Ide credits the work of students, faculty and staff on the campus tree advisory committee for helping earn the honor. Support from campus administration and student participation in tree plantings, during events such as Tech Beautification Day, demonstrate the importance of the campus environment to all who inhabit it, he said. For Ide, earning the honor for five consecutive years demonstrates Tech’s leadership in sustainability compared to other colleges and universities.
This year, the landscape services team, with the help of an outside contractor, completed a tree inventory as part of the Tree Campus USA program. The team will now work to treat those trees identified as dangerous and maintain the inventory to guide future maintenance.
The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in 2008 to honor colleges, universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The program is supported by a grant from Toyota.