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For Fifth Year, ODU Achieves Tree Campus USA Distinction

By Brendan O'Hallarn

For the fifth year in a row, Old Dominion University has been named to the national "Tree Campus USA" list by the Arbor Day Foundation, in recognition of the University's commitment to sustainability, safety and aesthetic beauty of its Norfolk campus.

Projects such as "Acorns to Oaks," in which students from ODU biology classes helped children from the Child Learning and Research Center plant oak trees that were later donated to the City of Norfolk Public Schools; and plantings near the new Education Building and Brock Commons are examples of a few of the projects overseen by the University's Grounds Department that led to the honor.

Grounds manager Chad Peevy said Old Dominion has always been a tree campus.

"The Willow Oaks in front of Rollins hall, they have been a dynamic of this campus since 1930, the trees which set the standard," Peevy said.

He added that Tree Campus USA recognition is a collective effort. "This is not just about a collection of large plants. This is about redefining what it means to be urban, this is about one of ODU's defining features. The legacy of our urban forest is not what we leave for future Monarchs, it is what we create for them."

For nine years, Tree Campus USA has honored college and universities nationwide for promoting and maintaining healthy trees and empowering students, staff and faculty to participate in the spirit of conservation.

Old Dominion was recognized for meeting Tree Campus USA's five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee; a campus tree-care plan; dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program; an Arbor Day observance; and a student service-learning project.

"Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all."

In total, 296 campuses across the United States received the Tree Campus USA designation for 2017.

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year.

For more information, see the Tree Campus USA website.

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