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ODU Earns Fourth Consecutive Tree Campus USA Honor

Old Dominion University has been recognized as a "Tree Campus USA" by the Arbor Day Foundation for the fourth consecutive year, cited for its commitment to providing safe, sustainable and beautiful landscapes for the University community and visitors.

The eight-year-old national program honors colleges and universities for promoting and maintaining healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

The Arbor Day Foundation praised ODU for consistently meeting the core standards for environmental stewardship and sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA.

Criteria include establishing a tree advisory committee; maintaining a campus tree-care plan with dedicated annual expenditures; holding Arbor Day observances, and sponsoring student service-learning projects.

"Being recognized once is an incredible honor," said Chad Peevy, grounds manager for the University. "But four times is truly incentive to continue improving, enhancing and inspiring ourselves and others."

Peevy oversaw numerous initiatives over the last year that were featured in the University's nomination submitted to the Arbor Day Foundation. They included the "Acorns to Oaks" project, in which students from ODU biology classes helped children from the campus Child Learning and Research Center plant oak trees that were later donated to the City of Norfolk Public Schools.

Also, plantings done through a collaboration of ODU grounds personnel and student volunteers beautified Brock Commons, the outdoor amphitheater opened last fall in the Village Arts District.

Another project was a "Farm to Fork" al fresco dinner for students and campus leaders last October, produced by ODU grounds and Aramark employees.

And Peevy and George McLeod, ODU's assistant director of geospatial and visualization systems, led the effort to create a digital, interactive campus tree trail.

Employing "story map" software, the innovative tree trail pinpoints the location of 30 trees starting in front of the Kaplan Orchid Conservatory. Thumbnail photos of each tree can be clicked to bring up the name as well as its taxonomic and common information.

More information about the Arbor Day Foundation's Tree Campus USA program can be found at this website.

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