The Arbor Day Foundation has given California State University, Dominguez Hills (CSUDH) a 2019 Tree Campus USA recognition for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for excellent campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Currently, there are 385 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
CSUDH achieved the recognition by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee; developing a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program; hosting an Arbor Day observance; and creating a student service-learning project.
“It is truly an honor to be recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation, an organization with a long history of advocating for the protection of trees, and subsequently all the other species whose survival depend on healthy forests, both in natural and urban settings,” said Ellie Perry, sustainability manager for CSUDH’s Office of Sustainability.
To manage the diverse variety of trees on the 346-acre campus, CSUDH’s Sustainable Landscape Committee developed and continues to implement a comprehensive plan that committed the campus to a one-to-one tree replacement ratio for trees that need to be removed due to construction, pest infestation, or other issues. The committee also set a target to increase tree coverage on campus to 25 percent by 2025.
The university is exceeding its tree replacement ratio, Perry noted, and in some cases, non-native trees, such as eucalyptus, are being replaced with water-wise and climate-resilient tree species.
“In addition to ensuring new trees are planted every time one is removed, we have been developing new programs to engage the campus in our mission to rebuild our tree coverage,” Perry said.
One program that Perry noted was the Green Graduation pledge. In May 2020, for every graduating senior who took a pledge to commit to considering the environment in their future career decisions, $1 of CSUDH’s Facilities Services budget was allocated to planting new trees. Enthusiastic about leaving a tangible legacy on campus, more than 300 graduates from the Class of 2020 signed the pledge.
In addition to the five new trees that will be planted on campus this fall, the committee has also recently championed a donation effort that allows anyone in the community to donate funds to planting trees on campus. Emeritus faculty from CSUDH’s biology and ecology departments have already committed to donating to the Sustainability Tree Planting Fund to create a commemorative gingko tree row in front of the new Science and Innovation Building.
To support the Sustainability Tree Planting Fund please contact CSUDH at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $51 million in campus forest management last year. This work directly supports the Arbor Day Foundation’s Time for Trees initiative — an unprecedented effort to plant 100 million trees in forests and communities and inspire 5 million tree planters by 2022.
“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities, showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of California State University, Dominguez Hills’s participation, the air will be purer, the water cleaner, and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”