MACOMB, IL — Western Illinois University has once again been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. This is the eighth consecutive year that Western has been named a Tree Campus USA. The national program was created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.
According to Tree Campus USA, Western continues to achieve the title by meeting the organization's five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree care plan, dedicating annual expenditures toward trees, hosting an Arbor Day observance and sponsoring student service-learning projects.
Western's landscape maintenance department, within facilities management, maintains more than nearly 2,700 trees on the Macomb campus. Each fall and spring, as part of the Western's volunteer campus beautification program We Care, trees are planted and/or mulching is completed around existing trees. Also as a part of Arbor Day, Forestry Instructor Paul Blome and WIU urban forestry management students lead tree plantings with elementary schools in western Illinois, a tradition that was started in 1993 by WIU Forestry Professor Tom Green. In addition, each spring, two trees are planted on WIU's Macomb campus to honor WIU employees and students who have passed away. A complete WIU tree inventory can be found at https://gis.wiu.edu/js/wiutrees/
"We're pleased to be recognized for the eighth year in a row as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The work of our landscape maintenance staff and others in keeping our campus beautiful is to be commended," said Troy Rhoads, executive director of Facilities Management.
Since 2018, landscape maintenance staff have completed Emerald Ash Borer treatments on campus as part of the WIU Foundation's special GoFundMe 'Save WIU's Ash Trees' campaign. WIU alumni and certified arborists Aaron Schulz and Charles Goodrich volunteered their services to make the treatments to 37 Ash trees, with landscape maintenance staff treating an additional 31 trees. Treatments will continue on a rotating basis to ensure the health of the campus' Ash trees.
"Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment," said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Because of Western Illinois University's participation air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide."
According to WIU English Professor Emeritus and Historian John Hallwas, the WIU campus was designed by landscape architect Thomas Hawkes of Chicago, and in 1903-1905 noted horticulturalist John Van Ness Standish selected and supervised the planting of approximately 500 trees.