UofL qualified for the honor by meeting standards established by the national Arbor Day Foundation.
The university developed a care plan for the more than 1,100 trees on its 309-acre Belknap Campus and is spending more than $200,000 a year to carry out the plan. It also launched a service learning project for students interested in protecting and preserving campus trees.
Weather permitting, UofL will raise the Tree Campus USA flag in commemoration of its status and National Arbor Day, Friday, April 29, 11:30 a.m., at Third Street and Eastern Parkway.
After that, experts will lead a public tour of campus trees.
Last fall, 65 students in assistant professor Tommy Parker’s biology class took a formal inventory (PDF) of all Belknap Campus trees. Their work was used to create a 1.75-mile self-guided tree tour. Identifying markers have been placed near some 60 trees, and tour-takers receive a brochure and map to guide them along the route. (Available at the North Information Center or online.)
“Trees are a vital part of our campus infrastructure and we’re working to make sure they’re around for future generations to enjoy,” said UofL grounds superintendent Aaron Boggs, who helped develop the tree care plan.
Trees also provide important environmental benefits, said Justin Mog, assistant provost for sustainability initiatives.
“They reduce our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by moderating the heat of summer and the cold winds of winter, take carbon out of the atmosphere, make oxygen, provide a habitat for wildlife and help retain moisture,” Mog said.
The Arbor Day Foundation presented UofL with a flag and plaque to commemorate its designation as a Tree Campus USA.
UofL’s strategic plan for 2020 sets measurable goals for improving its sustainable practices.