NSU: Tree Campus USA University


 NATCHITOCHES - Northwestern State University has been designated as a 2009 Tree Campus USA University by the Arbor Day Foundation for its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship.

     Northwestern State is the first college or university in Louisiana to be named a Tree Campus USA University.

     “The natural beauty of our campus is important to everyone associated with Northwestern, and this recognition shows we are working to maintain tree care practices that will keep the campus beautiful,” said Director of Grounds and Custodial Services and Coordinator of Emergency Services Chris Sampite. “Over the next several months, we will be working with students, faculty and staff on plans to add more trees and maintain the ones that have been part of the campus for many years.”

     Northwestern State met the required five core standards of tree care and community engagement in order to receive Tree Campus USA status. Those standards are establishing a campus tree advisory committee; evidence of a campus tree-care plan; verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan; involvement in an Arbor Day observance; and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

     Over the past year, Northwestern has begun a Green initiative which includes a recycling program, campus beautification, service learning and community programs.

     “The Northwestern Green initiative seeks to promote a healthy student body, campus, and community. Tree Campus USA connects with several spokes of the Northwestern Green initiative,” said Director of Service Learning Steven Gruesbeck. “It is exciting to see the many ways in which students, faculty, and staff form partnerships and engage in 'green' activities that improve our campus and our community.”

     Sampite said Advisory Committee Co-Chairs Vice President for University Affairs Marcus Jones and Gruesbeck head up a group of individuals from the campus community and local community who are working to identify and recommend campus enhancements and beautification projects.

     “The Tree Campus USA program will have a long-lasting impact at Northwestern State as it engages college students and local citizens to plant trees and create healthier communities for people to enjoy for decades to come,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Northwestern State will benefit from exceptional tree-care practices on campus as it works with tree-care professionals in the community to improve the tree canopy in Natchitoches.”

     Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors college and universities and the leaders of the campus and surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship. Tree Campus USA is supported by a grant from Toyota.

     The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in the fall of 2008 by planting trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States. More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

     In April, Northwestern will host its first Green Week of Service starting April 24 with Keep Natchitoches Beautiful, a city-wide cleanup day. The week of service ends with National Arbor Day on April 30.