Duke is Evergreen as Tree Campus USA

Durham campus is recognized for fifth-straight year

Duke's campus is surrounded by trees. The university has been named a Tree Campus USA location for the fifth-straight year. Photo by Duke Photography.
Duke's campus is surrounded by trees. The university has been named a Tree Campus USA location for the fifth-straight year. Photo by Duke Photography.

For the fifth consecutive year, Duke has been recognized as one of the tree-friendliest campuses in the country with a "Tree Campus USA" designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.

Tree Campus USA schools are selected by the Arbor Day Foundation for promoting healthy management of campus forests and engaging the community in environmental stewardship. Duke is among about 100 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2012 list.

"One of the key concepts of Duke's Master Plan is maintaining our `Campus in the Forest' because the trees and natural areas of Duke are part of what makes it's so special and unique," said Tavey Capps, Duke's sustainability director. "One of the aspects of the Tree Campus USA program at Duke that I love is that students are encouraged to participate in the planning, planting and maintaining of campus trees. So not only are they enjoying a beautiful campus, but they are actively engaged and aware of what it takes to protect and maintain it."

In addition to hundreds of new and decade-old trees on its East, West and Central campuses, Duke also features 7,060 acres of land in Alamance, Durham and Orange counties as part of Duke Forest.

To receive its Tree Campus USA recognition, Duke met five standards of tree care and community engagement: establish a campus tree advisory committee, create a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body, dedicated spending on a campus tree-care plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance and evidence of a campus tree-care plan. A plaque honoring Duke's listing as a Tree Campus USA sits in a display case by Bay 2 in the Smith Warehouse.

Over the years, Duke's Facilities Management Department has actively worked to update its inventory of trees using "i-Tree ," a free software tool that allows users to maintain detailed information about trees, including location, size, condition, and estimates of overall value in sequestering carbon emissions. About 4,700 trees from East and West campuses have been entered into the i-Tree program.

Facilities has also been active in replacing decaying trees with the help of student groups.

"Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment," said John Rosenow, founder and chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for all of us."

The Arbor Day Foundation launched Tree Campus USA in 2008 by planting trees at nine college campuses throughout the United States. Duke was among the inaugural campuses selected and was the first campus in North Carolina to receive the recognition.