News Item

Lander designated as a 2015 Tree Campus USA

April 06, 2016

Lander University’s commitment to campus tree management has been recognized again by the Arbor Day Foundation, which designated the university as a 2015 Tree Campus USA, one of only seven schools in South Carolina to be selected for the award. It is the fourth year in a row that Lander has received the designation.

To qualify, schools must meet the Foundation’s five core standards, including having a campus tree advisory committee, a tree care plan and service learning that engages students in conservation efforts.

Dr. Diana Delach, assistant professor of environmental chemistry and chair of Lander’s Arboretum Committee, described the Tree Campus USA award as an affirmation of Lander’s ongoing project to identify, protect and add to the the number of trees on campus.

She said the Arboretum Committee has appointed, what she called, arborists-in-training, members of Lander’s grounds crew, who check on the health of trees and other greenery.

According to Delach, the committee is also using technology to help gather important information. For example, 20 students, who are enrolled in a variety of majors, are conducting a census to identify the species and number of trees on campus. They use Snapleaf, a mobile visual recognition software that identifies trees from photographs of their leaves.

Delach said Brian Davis, a senior environmental science major who is working as an intern, is posting collected data on a geographic information system map that he created to identify the species of trees on campus and where they are located.

She said university president Dr. Richard Cosentino would like Lander to become a horticultural focus for as many trees as possible that are native to South Carolina. She described the proposal as quite a challenge because many trees that are indigenous to the state will only grow in certain regions. But the committee is investigating opportunities for increasing the number of different tree species on campus.

Delach is happy that the Arbor Day Foundation has recognized the university. She said, “The Arboretum Committee, students, faculty and staff have gone out of their way to increase the diversity of trees on campus.” And she is especially gratified by the number of students who are involved in the ongoing project because it demonstrates their understanding of the ecological importance of trees on the campus.

Lander’s Arboretum Committee has 10 members, including students, current and retired faculty members, forestry department representatives and Greenwood residents who have horticultural interests and backgrounds.

The Arbor Day Foundation was created in 1972 and is a million member nonprofit conservation and educational organization whose mission is to inspire people to plant, care for and celebrate trees. 

 John Cuttino measuring tree resize

Lander University student John Cuttino, of Norway, S.C., measures a tree trunk as part of an ongoing project to inventory the number, location, species and health of trees on campus. The Arbor Day Foundation has designated Lander as a Tree Campus USA for its commitment to tree management.