The Catholic University of America was honored with a 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education® recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management. The Tree Campus Higher Education program honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Trees are a critical component of cleaning our air, beautifying the campus, and providing a cozy space to study between classes.
Catholic University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus Higher Education’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. Currently, there are 403 campuses across the United States with this recognition. CatholicU last earned the certification in 2015.
To earn recognition, the University relaunched a series of initiatives. The tree committee comprised staff from facilities planning and management, students from the Student Government Association, staff from Campus Ministry, staff from the School of Architecture and Planning, and the local tree canopy advocacy non-profit Casey Trees. The committee meets at least quarterly and meetings are open to any interested community members. In Fall 2020, the University hosted an educational tree webinar with Casey Trees on the history of trees planted on campus and the District of Columbia’s goals on increasing the tree canopy.
At the last estimate, the University has more than 1,500 trees on the main campus and near the Raymond A. DuFour Athletic Center. The most common trees on campus are the Leyland Cypress, White Pine, and Ash Trees. With the Energy Project winding down, many new trees were planted recently around Gibbons Hall, behind Regan and Ryan Halls, and up the hill between Aquinas Hall and Centennial Village.
This semester, Facilities Planning and Management plans to schedule a tree survey with the possibility of student involvement. A treewalk learning event with Casey Trees is being planned to take place this spring.