The Arbor Day Foundation has named the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith a 2011 Tree Campus USA for the third year in a row.
UAFS received the status for the first time when recognized as a 2009 Tree Campus USA University and was the first higher education institution in Arkansas to achieve that status.
UAFS achieved the designation by meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry — a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.
Alison Litchy of Fort Smith, urban forester at UAFS, said attaining the status is important and shows the institution’s commitment to caring for the University’s campus.
“Trees play an essential role in any landscape, on a campus, as well as an arboretum,” said Litchy. “Our trees are very important to us. We work hard to maintain our campus so it stands out amongst all others.”
Litchy is enthused about how involved students were during the past year as the campus worked together on landscaping.
“It was an honor working with the Biology Club students to create our new butterfly garden this past year as part of the requirements or the Tree Campus USA student-led project,” she said. “We added a landscape type that was not previously on campus, with the goal of increasing our bird and butterfly species diversity.”
Litchy said UAFS has had an urban forestry program in place for the past seven years and works to achieve goals that improve the quality of life on campus through the use of trees.
John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, said students throughout the country are passionate about sustainability and community improvement.
“Achieving Tree Campus USA recognition sets an example for other colleges and universities and allows students a chance to give back to both their campus community and the community at-large,” said Rosenow.
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. Tree Campus USA is supported by a grant from Toyota.