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Kent State University recently earned the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA designation for the sixth consecutive year.
Founded in 2008, Tree Campus USA acknowledges colleges and universities nationwide for campus forest management and commitment to conservation goals.
The excitement of receiving this honor has not diminished for Heather White, grounds manager of University Facilities Management at KSU.
"It means a lot, especially since we're able to be successful year after year," White said. "It shows our commitment to the campus green infrastructure."
White worked with faculty and students to meet the five standards needed to be a Tree Campus USA: sustaining a tree advisory committee, developing a tree care plan, dedicating annual expenditures toward trees, educating the campus community through Arbor Day observances and completing student service learning projects.
White said most of the students participating in the service learning projects are members of KSU's urban forestry class.
The students are expected to take an inventory of the trees on campus and share their findings with University Facilities Management.
"My theory is we're getting them young and training them right," White said. "They already have an interest in trees if they're taking the class. We hope that they take what they've learned and share it among their friends."
KSU's tree advisory committee board consists mainly of the required titles of professionals on and off campus. White is actively encouraging more student involvement, especially among biology students, though the board is open to anyone with an interest in trees on the campus grounds. The committee assists in providing guidance for a campus tree plan and the education of the benefits of trees on campus and in the community.
"We are the first impression for perspective students," she said. "We never lose that thought as we go about our business. Trees offer cleanliness and safety and contribute a great deal to the campus. The measures we take go a long way. We're very proud."