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Projects Updates for Tree Campus Higher Education

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  1. 2021 Tree Campus Higher Education Application Approved by the Arbor Day Foundation

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign has once again been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus USA member. Specifically, the Tree Campus High Education program reviewed the Tree Care Plan, in addition to other requirements, to grant our campus the title of an offical Tree Campus. Below is a brief summary of what is needed to obtain this recoginition, each year. 

    "To obtain this distinction, your campus has met the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus Higher Education, including establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for your campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and the sponsorship of student service learning projects. Your entire campus community should be proud of this sustained commitment to environmental stewardship."

     

  2. Campus Tree Advisory Committee Meeting - February 2022

    Associated Project(s): 

    On February 10, 2022, the 2022 Campus Tree Advisory Committee met to complete the following:

    • Review the charge letter
    • Discuss the success of the 2022 Tree Campus Plan
    • Plan Arbor Day 2022 events
    • Discuss policy revisions regarding tree damage replacements
    • Discuss the creation of a campus nursery

    See the attached file to read the meeting notes. 

  3. 2022 Tree Committee Formed

    Associated Project(s): 

    The 2022 Tree Committee is now formed.

    Serving on this committee are the following individuals: Kevin McSweeney (chair), Brent Lewis, Morgan White, Ryan Welch, Jay Hayek, Andrew Lamoreux, Eliana Brown, Sinead Soltis, Julia Marsaglia, and Jack Reicherts. In the 2022 Tree Committee Charge letter, Dr. Ehab Kamara defines the responsibilities and duties for the advisory body.

    See the charge letter in the attached files.

  4. Tree Campus USA application approved at the state level

    Associated Project(s): 

    The University of Illinois’ Tree Campus USA application has been approved at the state level! From there, the Arbor Day Foundation will receive our application for review and for final approval. Each year, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee submits a Tree Care Plan to the foundation to uphold our Tree Campus USA status. 

     

    Below are some kind words from Mike Brunk, from the Illinois DNR, after reviewing the Tree Care Plan that included the various projects on the horizon and the progress made throughout 2021.

     

    “Excellent Plan and some challenging and productive Service Learning projects.  The south Arboretum is a big project, and the LA internships for creating greenspace designs and selecting tree locations sounds like it is fun especially knowing that there is funding support for the installation of their plans.

    …And the new canopy study looks like it will create some interesting information for you to plan with.”

  5. Updated list of sustainability projects that need YOU!!!

    This is a list of projects that need students to work on.  It will be updated periodically by sustainability staff members, the last update was 8/30/21:

    • The campus MS4 stormwater permit currently has 49 Best Management Practices (BMPs) that have to be completed annually https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program . One of the 49 BMPs is a Public Education and Outreach requirement to broadcast or publish one stormwater Public Service Announcement (PSA) on social media, radio, television and/or internet. We currently have a couple on our website and would like to keep it up to date with new materials whenever possible.  https://fs.illinois.edu/services/safety-and-compliance/about-the-program/events-and-outreach. Another opportunity is for a Public Participation and Involvement BMP to discuss and provide opportunity for public input on the Storm Water Program (permit BMPs), climate change and environmental justice topics. This could be met by webinars, PSAs, posters, etc. Contact is Betsy Liggett.
    • Develop informational messaging about SmartWay, get more UIUC departments aware of the program, and coordinate a related student event.  Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • Support the Champaign County Design and Conservation Foundation (CCDCF) Board with their county-wide efforts for conservation and design.
    • Conduct a campus poll (fall semester 2021) regarding the Top 10 most iconic/significant/impressive trees on campus (including the arboretum). Develop an online survey tool (i.e., an online poll) whereby students and campus employees can nominate their favorite campus trees. Upon conclusion of the survey, work with Jay Hayek to tabulate and rank the results and create a publicly viewable ArcGIS Online StoryMap showcasing campuses Top Ten Trees. Prepare a presentation of results for the annual Arbor Day Celebration. Contact Jay Hayek at jhayek at illinois.edu.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Illini Union.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Huff Hall.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: ECE Building.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Armory.
    • Follow through with Facility Liaisons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Bevier Hall.
    • CCNet Website: Work with the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) leadership team to redesign and publish the CCNet website (old version is online at http://www.champaigncountynet.org/). There is a monthly brown bag sustainability networking event on the Third Thursday of each month, but the website hasn't been updated since 2016. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • We are seeking a student volunteer who can do tree identification for a series of trees in the Arboretum, and work with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis, and the Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Welch, to compare the tree identification to the draft tree inventory. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • Work on outlining sustainable initiatives that DIA can take in support of the Green Sports Alliance. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm0078 at llinois.edu.
    • Help iSEE develop a Sustainability Literacy Assessment. Contact Meredith Moore, mkm007 at illinois.edu. 
    • Help identify and develop opportunities for intersecting sustainability and the arts (sustainability murals, utility box artwork, etc.). Contact Meredith Moore, mkm0078 at illinois.edu. 
    • Develop permanent posters for the Solar Farm 2.0, to guide tour participants at the site. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • Help iSEE work with Student Sustainability Committee grant to expand small scale campus composting. Contact Meredith Moore at mkm0078 at illinois.edu.
    • If you have a project idea, please contact us at sustainability@illinois.edu, or submit it through the iCAP Portal Suggestions page.
  6. Article: What It Takes to Be a Champion

    The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, according to the U of I Master Plan, measures more than a whopping 8,000 acres of land in the Master Plan Area. F&S helps count and maintain all 16,534 trees on U of I grounds. That includes more than one “State Champion” tree – meaning it is the largest of its species in Illinois.

    Read more about U of I's champion trees on campus on the F&S Website or the PDF in the attached files!

  7. list of projects needed

    This is a list of projects that need students to work on.  It will be updated periodically by sustainability staff members, the last update was 6/24/21:

    • Develop informational messaging about SmartWay, get more UIUC departments aware of the program, and coordinate a related student event.  Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • Conduct a campus poll (fall semester 2021) regarding the Top 10 most iconic/significant/impressive trees on campus (including the arboretum). Develop an online survey tool (i.e., an online poll) whereby students and campus employees can nominate their favorite campus trees. Upon conclusion of the survey, work with Jay Hayek to tabulate and rank the results and create a publicly viewable ArcGIS Online StoryMap showcasing campuses Top Ten Trees. Prepare a presentation of results for the annual Arbor Day Celebration. Contact Jay Hayek at jhayek at illinois.edu.
    • Follow through with Facility Liasons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Illini Union.
    • Follow through with Facility Liasons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Huff Hall.
    • Follow through with Facility Liasons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: ECE Building.
    • Follow through with Facility Liasons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Armory.
    • Follow through with Facility Liasons for implementation of recommendations from NRES 285: iCAP Sustainability Ambassadors class: Bevier Hall.
    • CCNet Website: Work with the Champaign County Sustainability Network (CCNet) leadership team to redesign and publish the CCNet website (old version is online at http://www.champaigncountynet.org/). There is a monthly brown bag sustainability networking event on the Third Thursday of each month, but the website hasn't been updated since 2016. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • We are seeking a student volunteer who can do tree identification for a series of trees in the Arboretum, and work with the University Landscape Architect, Brent Lewis, and the Superintendent of Grounds, Ryan Welch, to compare the tree identification to the draft tree inventory. Contact Morgan White at mbwhite at illinois.edu.
    • If you have a project idea, please contact us at sustainability@illinois.edu, or submit it through the iCAP Portal Suggestions page.
  8. Article: An Earth Month to Remember

    The Spring 2021 iSEE Quarterly Update (iQ) highlighted a diverse array of campus initiatives that made this year's Earth Month one to remember. Ranging from hosted events to sustainable energy, the article discusses the launch of the "TED Talk: Eco Edition" series, Solar Farm 2.0, community trash pickup, and more!

    Read the article in the attached files below. 

  9. Update on Campus' Tree Inventory

    Brent Lewis provided the following update to the Land and Water iCAP Team:

    One of the iCAP objectives under Land and Water (4.2.1) involves a service learning project to better understand our historic and current tree canopy percentages.  I just wanted to reach out and say that I’ve worked it out with our NRES faculty member, Jennifer Fraterrigo that she will work with her students in the fall to prepare this analysis.  As our last 2 tree surveys were generally on 2008 and 2018, they will take a look at those years and put together an analysis.  Over this time, I believe we lost between 10-12% of our tree inventory on campus.  It is my thought that this loss in older trees would have meant a much larger loss in actual tree canopy.  This would generally equate to a loss of habitat, increase in ambient temperatures and increase in rainwater that would otherwise have been used by the trees.  I have been wanting to get a handle on the loss as I push for resources to replace what we had, as well as enhance what we will have for the future.

  10. Urban Tree Monitoring Video Mini-Series

    Associated Project(s): 

    USDA Forest Service's R&D posted a 5-part video mini-series about the importance and benefits of urban tree monitoring. As highlighted in the series, urban tree monitoring can serve several types of management and research goals. For example, a plant program's performance can be evaluated by analyzing the growth, health, and survival of trees! Each of the videos correlates to different topics: Getting Started with Urban Tree Monitoring, Mortality Status, Trunk Diameter, Location Methods, and Managing Field Work.

    To watch the series, please go to USDA Forest Service's R&D Homepage or proceed to their YouTube playlist.

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