AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a 2015 Tree Campus USA for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
The award will be accepted at 9:30 a.m. on April 29 as part of the campus’ Arbor Day events at the Durfee Conservatory courtyard.
The university achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.
Todd Beals, an arborist with the Physical Plant and the planner of the Arbor Day events, said, “The Tree Campus USA designation carries no funding. It’s an acknowledgment of what we have done and a challenge for long-term upkeep.”
Beals is also the person behind the interactive website www.tiny.cc/waugharboretum, which displays information about the location, species, health history, canopy size, champion points (a way of rating trees within species by size), historic value and more for most of the trees in the Frank A. Waugh Arboretum, named for the first head of the university’s landscape architecture department. The arboretum, which covers the core campus, is home to 8,000 actively managed trees of more than 350 species.
Among the champion trees on campus is one national champion, the Japanese elm on the southeast side of South College, which is the both the oldest and largest on American soil. It was brought to campus from Japan in 1890 by William Penn Brooks, who would later be 10th president of the Massachusetts Agricultural College.
Schedule of Arbor Day activities
8-10 a.m. Pruning demonstration by UMass Amherst students, a service learning project. Furcolo Hall.
9:30-10 a.m. Tree Campus USA Award. Durfee Conservatory Courtyard stage.
10-11:15 a.m. Guided Arboretum tour. Meet and finish at Durfee Conservatory Courtyard.
11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Champion tree designation. DCR specialists will demonstrate how they measure and – perhaps – crown a new 2016 champion. Meet at Durfee Conservatory Courtyard.
12:45-1:30 p.m. Tree pathology walk. UMass Extension staff tour examples of insect damage and diseases affecting trees and shrubs. Meet and finish at Durfee Conservatory courtyard.
1:30 p.m-2:15 p.m. Demonstration of the UMass Amherst tree spade. Meet at Durfee Conservatory courtyard.
2:15-3 p.m. Planting of the 2016 class tree, a tupelo. Meet at east side of Campus Pond.
Also, on April Fridays (except April 29), visit Beals and his fellow tree enthusiasts at the Campus Center lobby from 10 a.m-3 p.m. to learn more about the Waugh Arboretum Web application or any of the trees on campus and receive a free tree seedling – either a sugar maple, an eastern redbud or a river birch.
Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. There are 254 campuses across the United States with this recognition.
According to the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $36.8 million in campus forest management last year.