YSU designated Tree Campus USA for 10th consecutive year

Celebrating YSU’s 10th year as a Tree Campus USA are members of the Campus Beautification Initiative Working Group, from the left, Catherine Cala, Madeline Rosile (student member) and David Ewing, standing in front of a Golden Catalpa Catalpa bignonioides ‘Aurea’, a donor tree representing one of the 17 new species on campus.

Youngstown State University, whose 145-acre campus boasts nearly 2,000 trees, has been designated a Tree Campus USA for a 10th consecutive year.

“Managing natural resources on an urban campus can be a challenging undertaking,” Catherine Cala, YSU assistant director of Alumni and Events and chair of the university’s Campus Beautification Working Group.

“This recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation confirms again YSU’s long-standing commitment to a culture that values our trees and the natural beauty of our campus.”

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Out of nearly 4,000 universities and colleges nationwide, only about 250 achieve Tree Campus USA status.

Cala said the number of trees on campus has increased from 1,813 in 2009 to 1,981 since YSU established a tree-care management plan in 2009. The number of species has also increased, from 78 to 95.

The increase, Cala said, is the result of effective forest management by the university’s Grounds department under the leadership of Dave Ewing, associate director of Grounds, as well as the YSU Campus Beautification Initiative. Through the initiative, YSU alumni and friends may purchase a campus tree or bench to honor a loved one. The program aims to diversify the tree population by selecting species not yet present on campus and to provide educational opportunities for YSU students. Proceeds support an endowment to preserve YSU’s trees and green spaces. The most recent donor tree was a Scarlet Oak (Quercus coccinea), the first of its kind on campus and planted in memory of Distinguished Professor Ray Beiersdorfer.

“If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time,” said Lauren Weyers, program coordinator of the Arbor Day Foundation. “We applaud your commitment to the community and to the trees of your school and thank you for helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

YSU’s Tree Campus USA honor was announced at the Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA Awards held this year in the D.D. and Velma Davis Center at Mill Creek MetroParks Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown. The ceremony, hosted by the City of Youngstown Parks and Recreation Department, covered Region 6, which comprises 13 counties in eastern Ohio.  Cala and Ewing gave a presentation on YSU’s efforts to preserve its trees and natural environment for the benefit of future generations of students.