June 09, 2015

UAB campus honored for commitment to conservation

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campus treesThe University of Alabama at Birmingham has received the 2014 Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota. The recognition honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

“The National Arbor Day Foundation’s recognition of UAB with the Tree Campus USA designation represents the maturation of our campus,” said Tim Sullivan, manager of Facilities Management’s Campus Services and Grounds. “The older trees on campus stood witness to the renewal of 70 city blocks, and the younger trees on campus will grow as the institution continues to flourish.

“With the Tree Campus USA designation and the work of the Tree Campus Advisory Committee, we will ensure our trees will be protected for the future, ensuring a living legacy for Facilities, its employees and all of UAB.”

Sullivan says Campus Services and Grounds partnered with UAB Sustainability to form the Tree Advisory Committee in November 2014 to gain the recognition and to promote and preserve existing trees and encourage future tree planting on campus. The committee will provide guidance to encourage the addition of campus green spaces in order to create a more attractive, healthy and sustainable campus environment.

“UAB has a tree-care plan that protects and monitors the health of our campus trees,” Sullivan said. “Protecting and promoting trees is a key component for improving air and groundwater quality, plus it adds to the beauty of the campus.”

In order to receive the Tree Campus USA distinction, UAB had to meet five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA:

  • Establish a tree advisory committee
  • Develop a campus tree-care plan
  • Dedicate annual expenditures for its campus tree program
  • Host an Arbor Day observance
  • Sponsor environment-related student service-learning projects

UAB observes Arbor Day and gives out tree saplings during its annual Earth Week activities. This year, more than 300 saplings were given away. The new Sustainability Investment Fundallows students to submit ideas to improve campus in sustainable ways. This year, eight projects were selected.

“As more and more trees are added to the campus landscape, they are not only adding to our environmental efforts to improve air and water quality, but they are also adding financial value to our facilities,” Sullivan said. “The Tree Campus USA designation will help us properly protect that financial investment and the environmental benefits the trees provide.”

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