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Megan Card, Published June 20 2012

NDSU branches out as tree-conscious school, accepts state’s first Tree Campus USA title

FARGO – North Dakota State University was recognized Wednesday in a ceremony at the Memorial Union for being a Tree Campus USA.

NDSU met all five requirements to be one of 115 colleges and universities in the nation awarded the title by Tree Campus USA, a program stewarded by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Todd West, NDSU associate professor of woody plants, worked on the application as a faculty liaison. He said the campus has to form a campus tree advisory committee and develop a campus tree-care plan.

The committee also observed Arbor Day, and created a campus tree program with dedicated annual expenditures that equaled $8.01 per NDSU student last year.

NDSU students are also required to be involved in a major service project each year. They worked side by side last fall with faculty to help the Fargo Park District remove an invasive weed from Yunker Farm in north Fargo.

During the two-day effort, students saw how their work contributed to the park district’s long-term goals, said North Dakota State Forester Larry Kotchman.

West said NDSU is the only North Dakota university or college campus to be honored by Tree Campus USA, a program that began in 2008.

NDSU President Dean Bresciani said it’s an accomplishment to be the first campus in the state to be nationally recognized

“It is an important recognition in the sense of the beauty of the campus,” Bresciani said. “But it is also, as a land-grant institution with a long history of agriculture and environmentally related science, it is a perfect tie to our academic mission.”

As a certified Tree Campus, NDSU’s next step is to maintain its existing trees and continue to plan and increase the diversity of trees on campus, which has 2,500 to 3,000 trees and 75 species, said Martin Shervey, NDSU arboretum coordinator.

NDSU is not the only local entity to be recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation. Through Tree City USA, 48 North Dakota communities have been rewarded for their annual advancements in urban forestry practices.

Fargo, Grand Forks and Mandan have maintained Tree City USA certification since the inception of the program in 1976. West Fargo, Casselton, Mapleton and Moorhead are also one of 3,400 communities designated as Tree Cities in the United States.