Plymouth State University Named a Tree Campus USA

First academic institution in NH to receive this environmental recognition

Arbor Day celebration focused on new honor

PLYMOUTH, N.H. (April 30, 2018) – Plymouth State University (PSU) is the first academic institution in New Hampshire to be recognized as a Tree Campus USA. Tree Campus USA is a program of the Arbor Day Foundation that helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests.

The designation has come as a result of a Cluster Project and was spearheaded by graduate student Tyler Simonds. Cluster Projects are a large component of Plymouth State University’s innovative new Integrated Cluster approach to learning which uses real-world experiences to promote an entrepreneurial mindset and innovative approaches to problem solving. The Integrated Clusters promote cross-disciplinary learning to more accurately mimic what a work environment will be like for students after they graduate college. Tree Campus USA was a project of the Tourism, Environment, and Sustainable Development (TESD) Cluster.
There are five standards that had to be put in place at PSU to qualify for Tree Campus USA. The first standard is to have a tree advisory committee comprised of students, faculty, physical plant, and community members. Next was for that committee to develop a tree care plan. The third standard is for the committee to have dedicated annual expenditures for their work plan. In 2017, these were provided for by the TESD Cluster.

Standard four states that the institution must observe Arbor Day, which PSU has been doing with an annual tree planting. This year, Arbor Day was celebrated on Friday, April 27 with a tree planting ceremony planned by the tree care committee at which the recognition as a Tree Campus USA was announced. As Arbor Day coincided with an accepted student day at Plymouth State this year, PSU student volunteers offered the admitted students tree tours around campus throughout the afternoon.

The final standard to qualify as a Tree Campus USA is to have service learning projects. PSU satisfied this standard with their Environmental Science and Policy Capstone Seminar course. The students in this course have compiled interesting details about different tree species on campus and lesser-known tree benefits. In addition, the students used i-Tree, an online software tool developed by the Forest Service, to quantify the monetary value of various trees on campus.

“While it is an honor to be the first college in New Hampshire recognized as a Tree Campus USA, I’m more excited about what this says about PSU–that we’re coming to understand the many benefits of a tree canopy and giving it the respect and attention it deserves,” said Simonds. “From saving energy, to improving mental and physical health and stormwater management, trees provide at least 20 different ecosystem services as they grace our campus with their presence.”

To learn more about the Tree Campus USA program, visit https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecampususa/. To learn more about Plymouth State University’s Environmental Science and Policy program, visit https://campus.plymouth.edu/esp/. Questions can be directed to MaryAnn McGarry, PSU associate professor of Environmental Science and Policy and co-administrator of the TESD Cluster, at mmcgarry@plymouth.edu or graduate student and project lead Tyler Simonds at tsimonds@plymouth.edu.

Established in 1871, Plymouth State University serves the state of New Hampshire and the world beyond by transforming our students through advanced practices where engaged learning produces well-educated undergraduates and by providing graduate education that deepens and advances knowledge and enhances professional development. With distinction, we connect with community and business partners for economic development, technological advances, healthier living, and cultural enrichment with a special commitment of service to the North Country and Lakes Region of New Hampshire.

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