Feature News

North Central honored with 2016 Tree Campus USA® recognition

Apr 28, 2017

North Central College has earned the 2016 Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Foundation bestows the title annually to honor colleges and universities for engaging students and staff in conservation goals and for effective campus forest management.

“We will aim to earn this title from now on,” said Brittany Drummond, North Central’s sustainability coordinator. “The College’s ground crew does a great job taking care of trees and plants and keeping the campus looking beautiful. Dean Balduff, head groundskeeper, is an integral part of the College’s Campus Tree Committee.”

North Central achieved the recognition by meeting Tree Campus USA’s standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, an Arbor Day observance, student service-learning projects and more. There are 295 campuses across the United States with the recognition.

“One of the most exciting things about North Central receiving the Tree Campus USA recognition is that it shows the College’s dedication to sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint, as well as an opportunity to serve as an example for other colleges across the country,” said Helen Majer, a senior at North Central and member of the College’s Campus Tree Committee.

“Becoming part of Tree Campus USA was our first step. Our next goal is to become a certified arboretum,” said Majer who, along with fellow student Brooke Allen, a junior, drafted a tree care plan for the College that was ultimately part of the Tree Campus USA application submitted by the College’s committee.

According to a 2015 tree inventory conducted in part by student researchers, North Central College has 726 trees across its 68.5 acre campus, representing 84 species of trees. Drummond said a future goal of the College is to become “a level II arboretum, with one criteria being to increase the number of species to 100.” She said the College is moving toward that goal and held a special tree-planting activity this spring (photo, below).

Some of North Central’s residential neighbors share the same commitment for environmental stewardship. One such neighbor is Dr. Robert Sargis, who contributed generously to support the College’s tree-planting efforts.

“We’re really fortunate to live in a healthy and clean city,” said Sargis of Naperville. “These efforts will hopefully preserve that environmental quality for future generations. But I hope this will also trigger efforts to improve the environment in places where people don’t have the benefits of such privilege. This should be a challenge to all of us moving forward.

“It is clear that our environment can positively or negatively affect our health, and improving environmental quality needs to become an important component of comprehensive strategies to not only support diverse ecosystems but also to promote the well-being of those living in our community,” said Sargis.

The College will offer an interdisciplinary Environmental Studies major beginning fall 2017. For more information visit northcentralcollege.edu/environmental-studies.