KOKOMO, Indiana – Indiana University Kokomo has earned Tree Campus Higher Education Recognition for the third consecutive year, for the campus’ continued commitment to effective forest management.
IU Kokomo was one of 393 campuses to receive the 2021 Tree Campus designation from the Arbor Day Foundation, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to planting trees.
“I am extremely grateful to our environmentally conscious community here at IU Kokomo,” said Andy Tuholski, Director of the Office of Sustainability.
“This recognition represents not only the dedication of our interns, facilities management, steering committee members and volunteers, but also the importance the university places on maintaining the natural beauty of our campus.”
IU Kokomo first earned the distinction as a Tree Campus in 2019 and again in 2020. The honor is earned by following Tree Campus Higher Education’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, a on-campus tree maintenance, dedicated annual expenses for a campus’ tree program, Arbor Day celebration, and student service-learning project.
To maintain campus recognition, Tuholski said IU Kokomo has continued to increase its current canopy and campus tree inventory.
Additionally, students and staff hosted educational events, planted new trees, grew and donated potted herbs, and guest speakers on a variety of environmental topics.
Tuholski added that the list of favorite species on campus has been refined and the number and diversity of native species has increased on the ground. This effort will continue this spring, thanks to a grant from Women of the Well House, IU Kokomo’s philanthropic giving circle.
Don Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation, said trees play a vital role not just in the environment, but in everyday life.
“Having trees on college and university campuses is a great way to show a commitment to the overall well-being of students and faculty,” he said.
The Arbor Day Foundation states that the presence of trees on campuses and in urban spaces can reduce energy costs by providing shade cover, cleaner air and water, and green spaces for students and faculty. Trees can also improve the mental and cognitive health of students and provide a welcoming aesthetic on campuses.
The Tree Campus Higher Education program began in 2008 to encourage colleges and universities to plant trees on their campuses and engage students and staff in conservation goals.
“Ultimately, we aim to engage our students through service projects, internships, research grants, and events to help them learn more about environmental stewardship,” Tuholski said. “It is our responsibility to respect it, understand it and ultimately care for it.”
Alissa Russell, student intern in the Office of Sustainability, is thrilled with the recognition from the campus, as well as “the opportunity to combine what I learned in my classes with my passion for environmentalism.”
The Office of Sustainable Development will promote the importance of its practices during Sustainable Development Week, April 11-15. Students can plant trees on campus, hear from speakers, learn about sustainable food choices, and more.
Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.