West Chester University is one of only 18 campuses in Pennsylvania – and the only public university in the commonwealth – that has been recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.
This is the eighth year WCU has achieved this honor.
Tree Campus USA is a national program by which the Arbor Day Foundation honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging employees and students in conservation goals.
To achieve the designation, WCU met and continues to meet Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining 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.
Joan M. Welch, professor of Geography and Planning, has been instrumental in achieving this recognition since WCU’s first award in 2012. She is a member of the Sustainability Council and serves on several of its committees, including the Campus Tree Advisory Committee, which was first established as part of the process to secure Tree Campus USA designation.
The group’s members include the WCU Facilities Department, other WCU staff and faculty, a WCU student, and a West Chester Borough community member.
A number of students have participated in service-learning opportunities related to Tree Campus USA criteria.
“Our students not only engage in volunteer tree-planting events, many of them in the Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies (on South Campus); they also carry out research projects related to the urban forest through grant work and planning studios,” said Welch.