A greener side of campus

From the Horseshoe to the Thomas Cooper fountain, trees are a signature feature of the University of South Carolina.

The university has about 7,000 trees representing some 90 different species. The care of those trees has earned the university the designation as a Tree Campus USA for the seventh consecutive year. Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

Tom Knowles, assistant director of landscaping and environmental services, attributes the award to the care that Carolina puts into its trees.

“USC’s facilities team remains committed to providing a campus landscape that is beautiful and inviting for the enhancement of the student experience, faculty, staff and visitors alike,” Knowles said. “Our campus trees are an integral part of linking people to the environment and the Tree Campus USA program is one way that shows the university’s commitment to this goal.”

To obtain the distinction, the university had to meet the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry, which included establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

“We place a tremendous value on our campus trees, and we understand that people have emotional connections to trees because of the beauty and important benefits they provide for us,” Knowles said.

Some of these benefits come with reducing air and water pollution, lowering energy costs and improving the appearance of campus.

In the winter, campus landscape crews were busy planting trees and improving landscapes across campus. With spring here, the trees are full of leaves and bursting in color.

All the work done caring for trees is another step to improving the environment and quality of life at the University of South Carolina.

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