DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas is committed to environmental stewardship and has once again been honored by the Arbor Day Foundation for its care of campus trees.
“We are fortunate to have such beautiful trees all over campus, and we work hard every day to care for them,” said Erik Trevino, grounds manager at UNT and a certified arborist by the International Society of Arboriculture. “Receiving the Tree Campus Higher Education recognition for the 13th year in a row is a great honor that we take pride in.”
Tree Campus Higher Education is an Arbor Day Foundation program that recognizes colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
UNT had to meet five core standards for sustainable campus forestry including 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.
Between UNT’s main campus and external sites, the university has more than 5,000 trees including maples, magnolias, chinquapin oaks and eastern red cedars.
Normally, the UNT grounds team hosts a campus tree tour for students, faculty and staff on the first Friday in November to coincide with Texas Arbor Day. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it wasn’t able to host the event in the fall. In lieu of an in-person event, the UNT grounds and campus mapping teams partnered to create an online web map that simulates a tree tour by highlighting prominent or significant trees on campus.
The grounds team continues to support student and faculty research. Students in Dr. Jaime Baxter-Slye’s undergraduate Ecology Laboratory (BIOL 2141) in the College of Science have been working to document information about campus forestry through tree surveys recorded on the iNaturalist app. Their work has helped the grounds team update its tree database and better understand the health of trees on campus.
“We’re thankful to our ecology students for helping us gather information that will help us better care for our campus trees,” Trevino said. “The tree canopy not only creates a beautiful environment for student learning and living, but also provides a wonderful workplace for our faculty and staff.”