UND has earned 2020 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

The Tree Campus Higher Education program recognizes colleges and universities for successful campus forest management and for engaging students and staff in conservation goals.

As of 2020, only two other campuses in North Dakota had achieved this distinction, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

To obtain the designation, the university had to meet the foundation’s five core standards for effective campus forest management:

  • Tree advisory committee.

  • Campus tree-care plan.

  • Dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program.

  • Arbor Day observance.

  • Student service-learning project.

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“Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities, showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said in a statement. “Because of UND’s participation, air will be purer, water cleaner and students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty trees provide.”

The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit seeking to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. At present, there are 403 campuses across the U.S. with the Tree Campus Higher Education recognition, the foundation reports. Last year, Tree Campus Higher Education schools collectively planted 39,178 trees.

UND’s first arborist, Jared Johnson, who came to campus in 2019 after eight years with the Grand Forks Park District, had a goal to earn to designation for the school

“As we told the Arbor Day Foundation, our goal is to plant trees that will have long lives on campus, providing a sense of comfort and a welcoming environment for students, giving privacy and improving air quality,” he said in a news release.

Johnson and the UND Tree Advisory Committee monitor and manage UND’s population of about 6,000 trees, which includes pruning trees, removing dead trees, planning UND’s tree landscape in partnership with university architects and engineers, and managing the canopy that’s such a huge part of the campus’ appeal.

“That’s the centerpiece of campus, the place that people think about when they think of UND. Trees have a lot to do with that, which means trees have a lot to do with the students’ overall experience,” Johnson said.