Tree Campus USA
The University of Illinois at Chicago is among the few universities that participate in the Tree Campus USA program, which promotes effective tree management, campus community involvement, and nature connectivity among faculty members and students through forestry efforts. Tree Campus USA is a national program sponsored by Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota that assists nationwide universities and colleges in establishing and sustaining campus forests. We are proud to be the University FOR Chicago and we are proud to help the City of Chicago live up to the nickname, urbs in horto. Let’s be proud of that we are a university in a city in a garden, universitas in urbs in horto.
UIC has been recognized as Tree Campus USA every year since 2011.
To achieve recognition, UIC must meet five standards outlined on the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA page.
UIC’s Tree Advisory Committee meets with the Chancellor’s Committee for Sustainability and Energy Grounds subcommittee to discuss the status of UIC Trees on an annual basis. To join the Tree Advisory committee, sign up for the CCSE Grounds subcommittee.
UIC has a Tree Care Plan (sometimes referred to as Forest Management Plan) that contains recommendations by the Tree Advisory Committee how to best care for UIC’s trees. You can access the current version here: Tree Care Plan (updated 2016)
We hold Tree Campus USA arbor day observances annually and conduct service learning projects that include tree tagging and tree plantings. In 2016, UIC planted 2 trees in April as our arbor day observance event. Read all about it here: 2016 Arbor Day Observance. We tagged many trees with students from UIC College Prep as our service learning project. Read all about it here: 2016 Service Learning Projects . These yearly observances are typically held during Earth Month commemorating Arbor Day. Sign up as a Eco-Educator to become involved in future Arbor Day Observances and Service Learning Projects.
The UIC Tree Inventory documents every tree on campus.
In 2015, UIC fostered a partnership with Bartlett Tree Experts, in order to build and maintain our inventory of natural resources. Campus Auxiliary Services paved the way by sponsoring the completion of a full inventory that would document all tree specimens throughout the entire campus. The current tree metrics have been cataloged by this most recent tree inventory, completed in spring of 2017 that maps and manages data on all Trees within UIC property.
Read more about the tree inventory, as well as the benefits of maintaining a tree inventory here.
Undergraduate Students can participate in Tree Campus USA Internships.
Certain times, the Office of Sustainability will host internships under the Sustainability Internship Program for undergraduate students to work on the UIC Campus USA Program. Past interns have blogged about their experience:
So Why Are Trees So Important Again? by Karima Patel, Summer 2015
UIC’s Own Husband and Wife Tree, by Karima Patel, Summer 2015
SIP Blog Alyssa Straits, Summer 2014
SIP Blog Hulliams Kamlem, Summer 2014
Trees provide multiple benefits to the UIC community
When stepping onto the University of Illinois at Chicago, the average pedestrian might not realize how valuable our green space really is. Every tree is valuable. If you have ever benefited from clean air on campus, or relaxed in the perfect patch of shade, then you have benefitted from our Campus Forest.
Green spaces and trees are a good predictor of human health. They offer a wide range of environmental, health and economic benefits at the individual, community, and social level. These benefits include improved air quality , increased mental and physical activity, and create a sense of community with and social connections. Read more about the public health metrics that can be used to measure the health advantages of UIC green spaces here.
UIC students conduct Tree Research (“Treesearch,” if you will).
In 2014, UIC students Alyssa Straits and Hulliams Kamlem managed UIC’s tree inventory through measurement, location identification, and species specification. They identified the need for a holistic approach for campus health and wellness, with trees being a determining asset.
Kelly Ting, M.S. prepared Alyssa’s and Hulliams’ report to illustrate the public health implications of maintaining campus tree inventories.
In 2015, UIC students Neel Thakkar, Karima Patel, Edder Atunez and graduate student advisor RadhikaVenkatraman conducted a study on the growth of the trees on UIC’s West Campus. They measured Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) and Tree Height, and compared those results to previous data to understand trends. They took the study one step further by comparing the growth of the trees based on whether or not they were native to the Chicagoland area.