AUBURN UNIVERSITY – Auburn University has earned the Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for a fourth consecutive year. The designation recognizes Auburn for promoting healthy trees and engaging staff and students in conservation efforts.
Auburn has supported the Arbor Day Foundation’s five core values by establishing a tree advisory committee, creating a campus tree-care plan, dedicating an annual budget for tree care, establishing an Arbor Day observance and sponsoring student service-learning projects.
Horticulture professor Gary Keever continues to lead efforts to maintain the Tree Campus USA designation.
“For the first time, the university is developing a formal campus landscape master plan,” Keever said. “This plan emphasizes the importance of trees for their aesthetic and social value and also for their environmental impact to the campus ecosystem.”
University architect Greg Parsons said all new campus construction projects include an assessment of existing trees in the site development plans as well as the establishment of new tree plantings.
“We work closely with members of the Auburn University Tree Preservation Committee and our Landscape Services staff to determine which tree species thrive best in locations across campus,” Parsons said.
In 2012, Auburn transplanted 52 trees due to site development for new construction projects, with eight of the trees having trunks with diameters of up to 20 inches.
A collaboration of two landscape architecture firms, as well as a number of campus stakeholders, are working with the Auburn University Office of the University Architect to develop guidelines for enhancements to a number of campus spaces including Samford Park at Toomer’s Corner. The university will unveil a new landscape design theme for the area on April 20 during A-Day weekend.
Auburn’s campus is home to more than 8,200 trees, which includes a collection of native Alabama trees at the Donald E. Davis Arboretum. The arboretum serves as a living laboratory for those studying plants in their natural habitats.
(Written by Gail Riese.)