HWS Day of Service volunteers prepare to plant a tree.
In recognition of the Colleges’ excellence in tree management, HWS has been designated an Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA since 2012. The Urban Forestry Project cultivates programs, policies, and initiatives revolving around tree conservation and sustainability. Through student, faculty, and community engagement, it oversees the sustainable management of campus and community trees, promotes the fostering of healthy urban forests, and educates the public on the importance of natural resource conservation. Since 2012, HWS interns have conducted an inventory of nearly 800 trees on campus to focus their investigation on the application of the US Forest Service iTree Streets software, an analysis tool created and used to calculate the monetary and environmental value of urban forests.
History of Campus Trees
Tree conservation has remained an integral value to HWS over the decades, ever since nurseryman William Smith founded William Smith College in 1908. After moving from England, Smith worked for a Geneva nurseryman until he and his two brothers established their own local nursery. In addition to raising and selling ornamental plants, Smith concentrated on plant breeding and acquiring a large collection of natural history specimens. Smith’s profession, as well as funds to establish the women’s college, enabled him to make a large contribution to the beautification of the campus landscape.
Campus Tree Management
To ensure the sustainable management of campus trees, the Colleges retain a HWS Tree Advisory Committee, a Campus Tree Care Plan, and other natural resource conservation policies. Examples of policies include movement of trees wherever possible prior to construction; 2:1 replacement policy for any tree removed on campus due to construction or death; composting of fallen leaves to use as amendment for planting; and mulching of plantings to conserve moisture and reduce need for weed control.
Volunteers gather for Tree Campus USA tree planting event.
Tree Campus USA
HWS was honored as one of six campuses to be chosen as a Tree Campus USA in 2012. Sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, Toyota, and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, Tree Campus USA recognizes campuses for reaching certain tree management standards of excellence, including an Arbor Day observance and service learning projects. HWS ushered in Arbor Day with an awarded Tree Campus USA Planting Event on April 14, 2012. 76 trees, many fruit varieties, were planted on William Smith Hill by student and public volunteers. An orchard has also been planted adjacent to the Campus Garden.