For the 10th straight year, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been designated as a “Tree Campus USA” by the national Arbor Day Foundation.
The selection honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in conservation efforts.
“It’s a year-round focus, so it’s a lot of dedication and commitment to the urban forest and the benefits that it has,” said Chris Charland, who has been landscaping supervisor at UTC since 2008 and on the landscaping crew for 25 years.
In honor of the decade-long run as a Tree Campus USA, a European horse chestnut tree—a species suggested by Dr. Hill Craddock for the occasion—was planted outside Patten House on Friday, March 31.
Arbor Day takes place on Friday, April 28.
Being named a Tree Campus USA “is national recognition for dedication to sustainability and green spaces,” said Craddock, UC Foundation Robert M. Davenport Professor in the Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science and, as he puts it, “The Tree Guy” on campus.
The UTC campus is home to more than 60 different species of trees and more than 2,000 trees, overall.
“We say ‘campus beautification,’ but I think that trivializes it,” Craddock said.
UTC also has submitted its application to the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council for recertification as a Level 2 Tennessee Arboretum, which requires at least 60 different tree species on campus, each labeled with the scientific and common names, and a map of tree locations.
There’s a campus-wide sense of pride for earning the Tree Campus USA designation for a decade, Charland said.
“It’s not only Facilities, but the faculty members and the students definitely take pride,” he said. “It’s a feather in the cap, knowing all the good that the trees do once we plant them, nurture them and celebrate them. They do so many things to help the community and help Planet Earth.
“We always want to be moving forward and there’s no reason for us to go backward on that.”