The greenery around Troy University is doing more than providing shade from the scorching sun.
All four of Troy’s campuses in Alabama have received a Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit dedicated to planting trees and promoting conservation and education programs.
According to its website, the Tree Campus USA program aims to help “colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests.”
“It gives universities the opportunity to be recognized for their focus or their emphasis on best management practices for maintaining trees and promoting or sustaining tree activities on a given campus,” said Mark Salmon, director of Troy’s physical plant.
According to Salmon, Troy partners with the Alabama Forestry Commission to work on various projects promoting the growth and maintenance of a variety tree species.
The Tree Campus USA selection is made based on five criteria. Every campus must have a tree advisory committee, a tree care plan, a tree program with dedicated annual expenditures, a service learning project and an Arbor Day observance, which Troy usually observes in the fall semester.
According to Josh Slaven, grounds manager for Troy’s physical plant, the advisory committee was first established in 2013, and it aims to meet three to four times a year.
The committee currently comprises Slaven; Wayne Morris, associate professor of biology; Jonathan Cellon, coordinator for service learning and civic engagement; Dan Smith, director of Troy Parks and Recreation; and two students.
Slaven stated that the annual expenditure for the tree program, including labor and materials dedicated to tree plantation, is around $30,000 per year.
Service projects are conducted by the student body, university departments and members of the Troy community. Past projects have included students from local elementary schools helping remove harmful weeds around trees and Troy students conducting tree plantations around New Residence Hall.
Students wanting to become a part of the service learning project can contact either Slaven or Cellon.
Slaven said that he feels proud of the recognition and the support the university and the students have provided to make the recognition possible.
Salmon said he concurred and said the selection is an “enjoyable recognition” that puts a stamp of accomplishment on the university’s efforts over the last couple of decades.
He credits the achievement to the direction set by Chancellor Jack Hawkins and his wife, Janice.
“She (Janice) became one of those that got out and worked side by side with the grounds crew and identifying where plantings and trees and other things could occur,” he said.