Kat Riddler, Managing Editor

The University of Missouri-St. Louis has created a Campus Tree Care Plan in order to be part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program.

The Tree Campus USA program helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests. The Tree Campus USA program recognizes colleges and universities that effectively manage their campus trees, who develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests, and who strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community, forestry efforts.

There are five standards that a university or college has to meet in order to receive the distinction: have a Campus Tree Advisory Committee (CTAC), have a Campus Tree Care Plan, Campus Tree Program with Dedicated Annual Expenditures, Arbor Day Observance, and Service Learning Project.

Greg Ward, grounds supervisor, explained why UMSL would want to compete for this designation. Ward said, “UMSL Grounds looks to be a leader within the Green Industry as the premier land-grant institution for the St. Louis region. The Tree Campus USA designation is an easily obtainable goal and requires little monetary input. The inputs are minimal, but the rewards are great.”

Ward explained that his department began implementation of the plan in February with student involvement planting trees on South Campus for Arbor Day. Grounds also worked with Jay Fish of the Urban Ecology class, located In the CHERP trailer and the second event was with the Sigma Phi fraternity for their ACE project.

Another requirement was the CTAC. UMSL’s CTAC will be a voluntary committee for a semester, but most may stay on for the full school year according to Ward. The committee has to have a student, faculty, and staff member on its board and its composition is in UMSL’s Campus Tree Care Plan.  

The committee is in charge of revising or amending the Tree Care Plan, creating a campus-wide acceptable tree and shrub list, and providing a voice in future tree removals, tree maintenance, etc. The meetings will be open to the general public and Ward expects the first meeting to be in August at the beginning of the Fall semester.

UMSL’s campus has received many new trees already this year. Ward explained that there were 40 oaks planted of four different species, 10 pecan trees, 20 rosebud trees, and 20 shortleaf pine trees. The shortleaf pine tree is the only native pine tree in this part of Missouri.

Ward said, “Oaks are an important anchor species for Missouri forests. They attract many different invertebrates and vertebrates.”

Ward continued to explain that a caterpillar could be attracted to the young shoots of a swamp white oak that can attract birds who feed on the caterpillars and then feed their offspring. He also explained that the local wild-turkey population would be attracted to the acorns in the fall and attract larger predatory mammals to feed on the turkey.

He concluded, “Oaks are an incredible tree which can live for hundreds of years.”

Classes or student groups can be involved in future projects to help with planting, mulching, removal of invasive species, and other tree or shrub related projects in accordance to the Arbor Day Foundation Standards.

The students are Adriana Givens and Regan Slaughter are in HONORS 2050 – Inquiries in the Sciences: Urban Ecology and are planting trees on campus.

The official names of the species of trees planted this year.   

Quercus muhlenbergii – 10

macrocarpa– 10

bicolor– 10

velutina– 10

Carya illinoensis– 10

Cercis canadensis– 20

Pinus echinata– 20