FAQs for Tree Campus USA
Standard 1: Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Does the Campus Tree Advisory Committee have to be a newly established committee, or if we already have one that has the same function, just a different name, can this be considered our Tree Advisory Committee?
- As long as there is a committee that manages the implementation of your Tree Care Plan and has the required representatives (one member from the faculty, facilities department, community, and students), it can be a newly organized group or one that has already been established.
- What are examples of meeting agendas for the Tree Advisory Committee?
If you have never met as a committee before, consider for your first meeting, gathering all the appropriate representatives simply to discuss the Tree Campus USA program and the goals that need to be achieved to receive the recognition within that calendar year.
Future meetings can be held to set targets for the following year, update your tree care plan, get feedback/advice from representatives about tree management issues, etc.
- Is the Campus Tree Advisory Committee going to take decision-making authority away from the grounds or facilities departments?
No, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee is just that—advisory. This committee will provide valuable insights, support, and advice to grounds or facilities departments, which generally hold the decision-making authority when it comes to campus tree management.
“Describing the committee’s value, Matt Gart, Campus Landscape Architect at Virginia Tech, focuses on their role as a resource for addressing landscaping issues. ‘When we aren’t certain of the best route, we ask for wisdom from the committee,’ he says. ‘For example, to remove a tree in today’s climate, you need others to back you. They fulfill that role. They’re also great reinforcement when you need backing for projects. I’ve discovered that, after I get their approval and approach administration for funding, we’re much more likely to receive the financial support we’ve requested.’”
(Excerpt from the Professional Grounds Maintenance Society’s September/October 2008 Forum newsletter. PP. 22–23)
- The Campus Tree Advisory Committee members and establishment date are already written on the main application page. Is more information needed about it in our Tree Care Plan?
- Yes, it is important to establish your committee within the Tree Care Plan document, describe its role, which persons will be included in the committee, and the terms of the committee members. This component of the Tree Care Plan is often left out by colleges as they assume that since they listed the members under Standard 1 they do not need to address the committee again in the Tree Care Plan.
Standard 2: Evidence of a Campus Tree Care Plan
- Can the Tree Care Plan be changed in the future?
- Your Tree Care Plan can always be changed and should be reviewed and/or updated regularly. When applying for recertification, at the very least, the “Goals” section will need to be updated on a yearly basis. Every fifth year, a newly revised plan must be submitted.
- We already have a Tree Care Plan. Do we have to make up a new one to meet all the specifications listed under Standard 2?
- No, you do not have to create a new document, but all 10 of the components of a Tree Care Plan listed under Standard 2 must be included somewhere in the plan.
- Do you have an example of a Campus Tree Care plan?
Yes, Virginia Tech’s and Georgia Tech’s Tree Care plans are available for download, below. Both plans characterize the purpose of this standard by establishing a document that can be used as a reference tool to educate individuals about the campus’ tree care goals. Please do not copy and paste from these documents.
Standard 3: Dedicated Annual Expenditures
- Does the Arbor Day Foundation have suggestions for how we could get more funds for tree-planting and management?
- The Arbor Day Foundation strongly encourages you to work toward achieving Tree Campus USA recognition. Going through the process of organizing your campus’ tree care and management plans clearly demonstrates to your administration, donors, and grantors that you have a plan and vision for your campus trees. The aforementioned groups will be more likely to fund projects for campuses that can directly illustrate how they will be using and caring for trees on their campus in the future.
- If we become a Tree Campus USA college, will there be specific grant money made available to us that otherwise wouldn’t be?
- No specific grant money is available through the Arbor Day Foundation. It can only help you, though, when applying for grants through other organizations, to have the Tree Campus USA designation that recognizes your achievements of best tree management practices. Sometimes grant funding is available through state forestry departments. State Urban Forestry Coordinators can provide insight on any grants that may be available to your institution.
Standard 4: Involvement in an Arbor Day Observance
- Does the Arbor Day observance have to be on Arbor Day?
- No, you can organize an Arbor Day observance on a date that is most convenient for your campus.
- Does the Arbor Day observance have to pertain only to trees or can it include other elements of the environment and community involvement in outdoor education?
- The Arbor Day observance can include other elements of the environment and community involvement. For example, if you already have a yearly “Sustainability Week” and want to have an Arbor Day observance in conjunction with that event, that will fulfill the requirements for Standard 4.
Standard 5: Instituting a Service Learning Project
- Do our service projects have to take place on our campus?
- Service projects can be held off campus, but they should engage your own college students and take place within the local community.
- Do we have to create a unique service project every year?
- No, you can do the same service project every year.
- If we have questions about specific trees on our campus, are there recommendations of whom we should call?
- Yes, the Arbor Day Foundation always encourages you to get in touch with your local International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)-certified arborist or Urban and Community Forester since they live in your area and know the specifics of tree care and management for your community. For links to these contacts, visit our list of Urban Forestry Coordinators or the International Society of Arboriculture.