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UNT qualifies as Tree Campus for fifth consecutive year

UNT qualifies as Tree Campus for fifth consecutive year

The Arbor Day Foundation recognized UNT as Tree Campus USA University for 2012. This is the fifth year in a row according to UNT Grounds Manager, Lanse Fullinwider. Photo by Harris Buchanan/Staff Photographer

UNT qualifies as Tree Campus for fifth consecutive year
January 30
00:10 2013

Daniel Bissell / Staff Writer

UNT qualified as a 2012 Tree Campus for the fifth consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation, and is one of nine campuses in Texas to meet the foundation’s standards.

Grounds maintenance manager Lanse Fullinwider said there are hickory, pine, sycamore, golden rain, and maple trees, as well as a variety of oaks, on campus. He said the total value of the trees is over $18 million, and that some of the trees are well overmore than 100 years old.

“We have a tree policy and a tree committee,” Office of Sustainability outreach coordinator Nicole Cocco said. “We also have a tree inventory, a record of every single tree on campus, including what species and how old they are.”

The Arbor Day Foundation measures five qualities – a campus tree advisory committee, campus tree care plan, campus tree program with dedicated expenditures, Arbor Day observance and a service learning project – to determine whether a campus qualifies. The program was started in 2008.

Cocco said new trees are planted in place of old ones lost or cut down to maintain the sizable tree presence on campus in accordance with the tree policy.

A large part of the university’s efforts is made possible through the campus tree policy implemented in 2009. Vice President of Facilities Charles Jackson was on the committee that wrote the policy. He said it was written to preserve valuable trees on campus and replace those lost to construction or disease.

“Our policy is to take action to preserve trees, replace trees lost to construction, and add additional trees to our campus,” Jackson said.

Fullinwider said the grounds department is working with the university to maintain significant tree coverage across campus.

“We want to be sustainable, we want to be green, and we want to put our best foot forward to be as environmentally sound as possible,” he said.

Fullinwider said the department works hard to assure the trees’ survival through harsh summers and the drought that has plagued much of the state for the last several years.

He said the ongoing drought has weakened many trees, depleting them of crucial nutrients and presenting greater risks of insect damage.

“It takes this department a lot of time and effort to help take care of these trees,” Fullinwider said. “It’s a concerted effort by many people here that help us retain all of them.”

Cocco said the tree policies and the work done by the grounds department has helped the campus once again secure the qualification.

“I’m especially proud of our grounds department,” she said. “They do a great job of making sure our landscaping is sustainable and work really hard to keep this campus beautiful while maintaining a high standard of sustainability.”

Fullinwider said the designation of Tree Campus is something that should be maintained and upheld at UNT.

“Let’s do it,” he said. “Let’s make sure we maintain it, and make sure we keep that designation.”

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