U-M receives 10th consecutive Tree Campus USA certification


For the 10th consecutive year, the University of Michigan is recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation for its continued efforts and commitment to environmental stewardship.

The Tree Campus USA program, also celebrating its 10th anniversary, honors colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees and engaging students, faculty and staff in the spirit of conservation.

U-M will plant a tree on Central Campus later this month to celebrate the recognition as part of the Arbor Day Foundation’s national Arbor Day tour. U-M is one of six campuses featured on the tour and the event will be live-streamed on Arbor Day’s Facebook account April 25.

“We are honored to be recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA for the 10th consecutive year,” says Kenn Rapp, university landscape architect with Facilities and Operations’ Custodial and Grounds Services. “The University of Michigan was one of the first campuses to receive the Tree Campus USA designation and we are excited that the Arbor Day Foundation chose us to be a part of their National Arbor Day tour.”

Campus Forester Mike Rutkofske demonstrates tree maintenance. (Photo courtesy of Facilities and Operations)

To achieve Tree Campus USA status, campuses across the nation must meet five core standards for sustainable campus forestry. They are:
• Establishment of a tree advisory committee.

• Evidence of a campus tree-care plan.

• Dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program.

• An Arbor Day observance.

• Sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

Requirements for Tree Campus USA certification also support the university’s sustainability goals in the areas of community engagement and healthy environment to reduce the use of traditional chemicals. This year, grounds crews decreased the use of traditional chemicals on campus property by 40 percent, reaching the university’s sustainability goal in the area.

Additionally, Campus Forester Mike Rutkofske has been compiling data about the more than 17,000 trees on U-M’s Ann Arbor campus.

Rutkofske and his team venture out to campus in order to update a tree database with the physical location of each tree and to conduct a risk assessment that records any defects, ecological statistics and gauge if the tree needs any maintenance.

Children water a tree that was planted on the Diag in April 2017 as part of the university’s bicentennial celebration. (Photo by Kenn Rapp)

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