By Kristina Michel
For the second year in a row, the University of Houston has earned Tree Campus USA certification from the National Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
UH achieved the certification by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include 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. UH is one of 296 campuses in the United States to receive this honor.
“It’s a tremendous honor to receive this certification for the second year in a row,” said Melissa Halstead, sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “The University recognizes that trees are an integral part of our campus identity and a viable natural resource.”
UH has instituted several programs dedicated to the care, maintenance and growth of its trees. It has established a Campus Tree Advisory Committee that meets regularly to discuss and set goals for tree care on campus. It also has hosted numerous service projects and events to educate and promote urban forestry. This includes the annual Rock the Campus event in the fall semester, hosted by the Metropolitan Volunteer Program in partnership with the Office of Sustainability.
The University has approximately 5,000 trees of varying types on campus. However, efforts to pin down an exact number of species and varieties have been difficult. As part of its commitment to the Tree Campus USA program, the Office of Sustainability is participating in an effort to create a full inventory of UH’s trees, which will include species names, locations and a risk assessment.
For more information about the Tree Campus USA program and the National Arbor Day Foundation, go to arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.