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Creighton earns eighth straight Tree Campus USA designation

A sparrow rests in one of the more than 1,000 trees on the Creighton campus. The University recently earned its eighth consecutive Tree Campus USA designation.For the eighth consecutive year, Creighton University has earned recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA.

Launched in 2008, the national Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities for promoting health trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. The 2015 honor went to 254 schools, nationwide. Creighton has earned the recognition in each of the eight years the honor has been bestowed.

“It’s a great honor and one we really take to heart,” said Jessica Heller, Creighton’s landscape supervisor and resident horticulturist and arborist. “The fact we’ve earned this award in each of the eight years it’s been given shows how the University has gone to great lengths to promote planting and care for a diverse population of trees on campus.”

An estimated 1,000 trees from 100 different species call the Creighton campus home, from towering, century-old sycamores near the School of Law to the tulip poplar saplings planted just west of Dowling Hall last year.

Heller and her staff try to maintain “a park-like setting” at Creighton and, as spring approaches and the first green shoots start appearing on branches, the feeling will again become palpable. But even over the winter, the many evergreen trees keep campus spruced up and green.

To earn the Tree Campus USA designation, Creighton met five core standards for effective campus forest management, handed down by the Arbor Day Foundation: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $36.8 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

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