UIC earns 2019 Tree Campus USA designation

For the ninth consecutive year, UIC has been recognized as a 2019 Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, the nation’s largest nonprofit conservation and education organization. The program began in 2008 and honors colleges and universities and their leaders for “promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.”

UIC received its first Tree Campus USA recognition in 2011 and has been honored with the distinction every year since. To earn its continued distinction as a Tree Campus USA, UIC met the five core standards for effective campus forest management, including

  • establishment of a tree advisory committee
  • evidence of a campus tree-care plan
  • dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program
  • an Arbor Day observance
  • sponsorship of student service-learning projects

“We are proud to have more than 4,000 trees that represent nearly 850 tons of carbon sequestration annually, said Lisa Sanzenbacher, assistant director for sustainability programs. “UIC takes a proactive approach to the health of our trees, preserving the large, mature trees. In 2020, the UIC Tree Care Committee set goals to educate the UIC community on the importance of trees, focus funding on the maintenance of the current tree population, and to soon invest in new tree plantings.

“This recognition shows the commitment the university has taken to ensure a robust campus tree population,” she added.

While much of the actual responsibility for maintaining UIC’s tree forest falls to the university’s Grounds team, it has become a collaborative effort among a variety of university organizations.

“The Grounds team plays an important role in maintaining our trees and certification,” said Carly Provost-Rizor, superintendent of grounds. “However, without cooperative partnerships with Sustainability, Parking Services, Campus Auxiliary Services, and others, our workload would be far greater. It takes a tremendous amount of commitment for an urban campus to prioritize their tree canopy. Receiving this designation for the last nine years shows that we are up to the challenge.”

UIC’s tree program also supports the university’s Climate Commitments, which recognize the impact of climate change and provide aspirational goals that offer visionary solutions for the future.

“Being a Tree Campus USA supports UIC’s Climate Commitment — Biodiverse Campus by supporting and enhancing the biodiversity of tree species,” said Cynthia Klein-Banai, assistant vice chancellor and director of sustainability.

“I want to express my gratitude to the to the UIC Tree Care Committee, chaired by professor Roberta Mason-Gamer and the Grounds Subcommittee of the Chancellor’s Committee on Sustainability and Energy, co-chaired by professor Rob Sargis and Carly Provost-Rizor, superintendent of grounds. I’d also like to recognize the staff support provided by Lisa Sanzenbacher, whose dedication to UIC’s tree canopy makes this recognition possible.”

To learn more about UIC’s participation in Tree Campus USA, its 2020 Tree Care Plan, and other initiatives, visit the Sustainability website.

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