Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Georgia Tech Named Tree Campus USA

Georgia Tech’s commitment to environmental best practices received a boost as the Institute was recognized for its planting and managing of campus trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation designated Tech a Tree Campus USA on Nov. 18. Tech is the 10th institution awarded this distinction for best practices in campus forestry, and is the first in the state of Georgia.

Hyacinth Ide, landscape manager with Facilities, received the award Nov. 18 in Atlanta at the Partners in Community Forestry Conference. Ide’s staff works to not only maintain and replace, but also increase the roughly 6,000 trees across Tech’s campus.

The criteria requires five core standards for institutions seeking award consideration: a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures on the plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance and institution of a service-learning project to engage students.

To achieve the goals set in the 2006 Campus Landscape Master Plan, Facilities established the Institute’s Campus Tree Care Plan in September. These goals include a 55 percent tree canopy, 22 percent woodlands coverage area, managing the impact of development and construction on campus trees, and ensuring proper removal and adequate replacement of trees.

“The reason our [designation] went so fast is that we were already doing most of this,” Ide said. He applied for the designation in October.

The committee membership overseeing this plan is comprised of students, area neighborhood representatives and members across several Institute departments—Facilities, Housing, Capital Planning and Space Management, Parking and Transportation, the Center for Geographical Information Systems and the School of Biology.

Tech must reapply annually to retain the Tree Campus USA designation.

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