Iowa State University Earns Tree Campus USA Designation

By Stephanie McMillian

Iowa State University has earned the designation of Tree Campus USA. The university celebrated with a special installation on Arbor Day April 19.

Tree Campus USA is a title earned from the Arbor Day Foundation based on a series of five standards relating to tree health and student involvement. The five standards include: the creation of a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for the campus tree program, hosting an arbor day observance and completing a service learning project.

The Campus Tree Advisory Committee at Iowa State University is made up of Rhonda Martin and Barb Steiner from Facilities Planning and Management, faculty from the horticulture department including Jeff Iles, Ajay Nair, Cindy Haynes, Lisa Orgler, Anne Marie Vanderzanden, Denny Schrock, Julie Stevens and Barb Clausen. Members of the Graduate Student Horticulture Society: Brandon Miller, Katrina Knudsen, Zach Hudson and Kristine Neu. Brook Jerie, a landscape architecture student also is on the committee.

“I am honored to have played a role in aiding the campus to earn the Tree Campus USA designation,” Miller said. “The campus is deserving of this title and the process was only made possible with the voluntary efforts of the many faculty, staff and students that take pride in the campus forest. As both an alum and current graduate student invested in the care and perpetuation of the heritage of the trees on campus, I am proud to see them receive the recognition they deserve.”

The Graduate Student Horticulture Society, the Department of Horticulture and Facilities Planning and Management collaborated on the installation consisting of two trees, 75 shrubs and over 300 perennials. The installation, to be known as Witch-hazel Walk, is located between Horticulture Hall and Catt Hall spanning to Osborn Drive.

The planting process was split into two phases. Trees and shrubs were installed on April 19th and a week later perennials were planted. Planting the shrubs and perennials was a service-learning project for students in the home horticulture class, undergraduate Horticulture Club and the landscape architecture program. Graduate students in horticulture were present during the planting process teaching the students proper planting techniques. Facilities, Planning and Management staff assisted as well and will handle most of the upkeep after the installation.

Neu, a graduate student in horticulture, designed the installation.

“Originally, my design was for two beds near Horticulture Hall and Catt Hall, but with encouragement from Facilities, Planning and Management I extended my plan to stretch all the way to Osborn Drive,” she said. “Installing the plants was really exciting. Knowing that this will be here for many years for students to enjoy is awesome.”

Neu incorporated a variety of witch-hazels, an underrepresented species on campus. The use of witch-hazels inspired the name of the project.

Iowa State University is the fifth campus in Iowa to receive this designation.

“We are already locally and nationally known for having one of the most beautiful campuses and for our diverse trees. This Tree Campus USA designation is a good example of that,” said Marcus Janssen, a sophomore in horticulture.