New trees planted at a rate of up to 50 per year throughout campus have led the Arbor Day Foundation to designate Oregon State one of nine “Tree Campus USA” sites in the country.
The honor comes at a great time because there has been declining funding from the state to plant new trees on campus, said Joe Majeski, OSU’s landscape manager. He hopes that the Tree Campus USA designation would provide the recognition that could lead to even more grants.
OSU has about 5,000 trees on campus, and typically plants 20 to 50 new trees per year, Majeski said. “The university is committed to planting as many trees as we can in appropriate spots.”
OSU received 100 new trees from the Arbor Day Foundation last week in conjunction with the Tree Campus designation.
“This is actually a brand-new program. We just put it together earlier this year,” said Jennifer Boettcher, program manager for the Arbor Day Foundation.
About 35 new trees became part of the campus Thursday, and the rest will be planted over the next several weeks.
City Councilor Jeanne Raymond helped shovel dirt on lilac trees planted along Orchard Avenue. She said trees are critically important to OSU, and not just for the environmental benefits.
“This adds to the community and the beauty,” she said, adding that one of her friends decided to attend OSU partly because of the ambiance that the trees bring to the campus.
“This is about the only place you can get monster trees; here and in the parks,” said Charlotte Pritchard, a full-time groundskeeper for OSU. She mentioned a red oak in the Memorial Union Quad that spreads out over nearly a full acre.
“You aren’t going to see that in someone’s yard,” she said.
OSU met five required core standards of tree care and community engagement in order to receive the Tree Campus USA status: a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan, celebrating Arbor Day and instituting a service learning project aimed at engaging students.