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North Central College receives arboretum accreditation through ArbNet and the Morton Register

Jan 09, 2019

Continuing its efforts to build and support the campus ecosystem, North Central received level 1 arboretum accreditation status through ArbNet, an interactive, collaborative and international community of arboreta sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum.

ArbNet is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards. North Central met those standards, which require a number of unique species of trees on campus, having an arboretum plan and a staff to support it.

“Our students have done an incredible job tracking trees in the campus tree inventory, and our grounds crew works tirelessly to maintain and grow our number of trees on campus,” said Brittany Drummond, North Central’s director of sustainability.

The accreditation process was spearheaded by Anna Halverson ’20, an environmental studies major, president of the sustainability student organization Green Scene, and the sustainability liaison in the Student Government Association.

“Many people don’t know the extent of North Central’s dedication to its campus ecosystem, so receiving this accreditation is one way to showcase the campus collection and commitment to a sustainable environment,” said Halverson.

In 2018, Halverson picked 15 new trees that were planted on campus, one of which she helped plant with her ecology classmates on Arbor Day, when they learned about proper planting and tree care techniques. The campus arboretum is fulfilling its function as a living laboratory, and students in the Introduction to Environmental Studies class use the tree inventory to calculate the total amount of carbon stored in the trees on campus.

Environmental studies major Anna Halverson '20

Environmental studies major Anna Halverson '20

“My favorite tree is a tamarack that we planted last year next to the College’s community garden. Tamaracks are a threatened native species in Illinois, so it was really important that we planted one,” said Halverson. “The needles on the tamarack turn a beautiful golden color before they drop in winter. The community garden is my favorite place on campus, so it is really special to have this beautiful tree next to it.”

The College currently has 97 different species of trees on campus, only three short needed for the level 2 accreditation requirement of 100.

“The more diverse we make our campus ecosystem, the more resilient and resistant to disease it will be,” said Drummond. “It also means we have to be very strategic about which trees we plant next.”

The ArbNet accreditation shows North Central’s continued support of the campus ecosystem after being honored with the Tree Campus USA recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation every year since 2016.

“North Central’s emphasis on sustainability teaches students that it should be a priority and norm in everything we do,” said Halverson, who plans to work in corporate sustainability. “From our daily lifestyles to our future careers, we need to consider the influence we can have.”

ArbNet Level 1 Badge

North Central College received level 1 accredited arboretum status