HWS Day of Service volunteers prepare to plant a tree.

Urban Forestry Project

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. In recognition of the Colleges’ excellence in tree management, HWS was designated a Tree Campus USA in 2012.

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. Today, more than 1,500 trees from 42 genera and 73 species exist on campus in his honor. The tree types include paperbark maples, sweet gums, Bricotti chestnuts, and 26 unique trees. Some of the unique trees to note include a red oak greater than 200 years old, a Kentucky coffee tree, and a rare Osage orange tree.

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
  • 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. Organized by FLI Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer, HWS ushered in Arbor Day with a Tree Campus USA planting event on April 14, 2012. The day began with an opening ceremony and inspiring speech by Derek Weiss ’12. After the ceremony, volunteers went to work planting 76 trees on William Smith Hill.