News Story

NSU recertified as a 2015 Tree Campus USA

(Tahlequah, Okla.)-- Northeastern State University celebrated being recertified as a 2015 Tree Campus USA on April 15, 2016 during a presentation in conjunction with the 44th Annual Symposium on the American Indian and NSU’s Arbor Day celebration.

Dr. Craig Clifford, professor of biology, put together a presentation and spoke at the Symposium on behalf of the Tree Campus Committee. In celebration, a tree was planted east of the gazebo on Tahlequah’s campus.

Tree Campus USA is an Arbor Day Foundation program that helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests. To be a Tree Campus, a campus must meet five core standards: establishment of a campus tree advisory committee, creation of a campus tree care plan, evidence of annual expenditures toward the work plan for a tree campus, organization of an Arbor Day observance, and service learning project related to trees for college students.

The benefits of being a Tree Campus USA site are a commitment to trees that can reduce the amount of energy a campus and community needs to generate, reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, adding green space to the campus for NSU’s community to enjoy, and involvement of students in the service learning project.

Patti Morton, office manager for NSU Facilities Management, said that Dr. Suneeti Jog, assistant professor of biology, enlisted her students to compile a list of all the species of trees on the Tahlequah campus- this project helped NSU meet certification requirements for Tree Campus USA.

“We have a variety of trees—oak, dogwood, maple, flowering pear, and we just planted another red bud last week to commemorate Arbor Day,” Morton said.

The list also includes silk tree, Osage orange, sweet-gum, sassafras, bald cypress, and many more, totaling 41 types of trees.

Morton stated that the NSU Tree Campus Committee began in 2009 and they worked on the Tree Campus certification for many years with Veronica Grayson, academic advisor, leading the original committee through this process.

“They had put together a very good foundation for our committee to use.”

The committee now partners The Sustainability Committee and is currently chaired by Dr. Pamela Christol, associate professor of General Physical Science, and NSU is now in its fifth year of being a Tree Campus. The committee is composed of nine members: Morton; Clifford; Jog; Dale Lentz, retired forester and community member; Larry Henley, supervisor of NSU Grounds; Rick Poteet, landscape specialist of NSU Grounds; Heather Wallace, president of the Northeastern Student Government Association; Nathan Kuntz, assistant director of Facilities Management in Broken Arrow and Muskogee; and Jon Asbill, assistant vice president of Facilities Management, Grounds, New Construction, and Capital Projects.

The most recent Tree Campus student service project was the 9/11 Day of Service in 2015. The American Society of Safety Engineers/Safety and Environmental Management Association and Dr. Katy Ellis, associate professor of Technology, volunteered their time to plant trees on campus.

“We had some wonderful student volunteers who participated and we planted 10 trees that day,” Morton said.

Morton added that NSU also has two new black walnut trees that recently replaced the black walnut trees that were original to Seminary hall. The original trees had died and were decaying and had to be taken down. 

Cherokee Nation gathered walnuts and grew saplings from original trees and these saplings were used to replace the original tree.

For more information, contact Morton at 918-444-2402. 

Published: 4/25/2016 4:23:30 PM

Go back to News Central