From the daffodils blooming in front of Patten Chapel to the newly planted trees that line Cardiac Hill, UTC is home to more than 2,000 trees and plants. Because of the University’s dedication to growing and maintaining a lush urban campus, the campus has been awarded a Tree Campus USA recognition.
“The heritage of the UTC urban forest includes trees that pre-date the campus. The oldest tress may be more than 100 years old. Within the 120-acre campus, there are nearly 2,000 trees and woody plants represented by more than 60 species,” Lisa Darger, UTC Sustainability Coordinator, said.
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
To be eligible for the recognition, the University had to meet five core standards for effective campus forest management: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
According to Darger, University officials also devised a comprehensive plan to take care of and manage the campus’s trees and plants.
“This document carefully outlines the policies and procedures to protect and maintain the campus urban forest, provide green space, manage tree maintenance and removal, and minimize the impact on development and construction on campus trees,” she said.
Supported by seven full-time employees, the UTC Grounds Crew implements the goals of the campus tree care plan and also maintains the University’s green spaces. The grounds crew is responsible for cleaning storm debris, seasonal pruning and tree-trimming, planting, mowing, mulching, and assessment of plant health and vitality.
“The campus has proved to be a valuable recruitment and retention tool. Many students have remarked that the well-kept grounds and natural setting present a welcoming and peaceful atmosphere,” Darger said.