Athens State University has received the honor of being recognized by Tree Campus USA for the year 2019 by promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in forestry conservation efforts. Its campus is one of 12 college campuses across Alabama to meet the qualifications for this recognition.
Tree Campus USA is a national program founded by the Arbor Day Foundation that honors college and university campuses that effectively manage the trees on their campus, connect with the community to promote healthy urban forest management and have a student body that is actively involved in environmental stewardship.
To earn this recognition, Athens State University met the organization’s five core standards for effective campus forest management:
- A Campus Tree Advisory Committee was created and it is comprised of students, faculty, facility management, and members of the local community.
- A Campus Tree Care Plan that provided direction for planting, maintaining, and removing campus trees as well as educate the community about the importance of the campus forest and the protection and maintenance of trees was developed.
- Annual expenditures were dedicated to the Campus Tree Program.
- An Arbor Day Observance event was held.
- Service Learning Projects related to trees and forestry were performed.
In addition to meeting these criteria, Athens State student, Drake Hamilton, completed a tree survey under the guidance of biology professor, Dr. Shannon Pitman. The extensive survey took students four years to complete. Hamilton was given the honor of being able to present this research at the Native Plant Symposium at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens last fall.
In lieu of Athens State’s annual Arbor Day Festival, the university has partnered with Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful and will be hosting the 2020 Earth Day & Outdoor Expo on Saturday, July 18. The event will be free and open to the public.