Take a bough!
By Peggy Binette, email@example.com, 803-777-5400
Studying, sunning, Frisbee-throwing and guitar-playing are among the activities going on every day under the Horseshoe’s canopy of trees. They are among the oldest and most stately of the 6,500 trees on USC’s campus.
The care of those trees has earned the University of South Carolina the designation as a Tree Campus USA for the third consecutive year. The program began in 2008 and there were 116 campuses winning the designation last year.
Tom Knowles, assistant director of landscaping and environmental services, said the care of USC’s trees is deeply rooted in the university’s commitment to sustainability.
“Tree Campus USA recognition continues to help promote Carolina’s urban forest to the entire Carolina community,” Knowles said. “The partnerships that have formed between students, faculty and staff have increased the awareness and the benefits of a healthy tree canopy, especially in an urban area like Columbia.”
Colleges and universities named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota Motor Foundation have detailed plans and practices for the management of trees, emphasize the importance of an urban forest to the health of the campus community and foster student service learning activities that are centered on campus forestry.
“Healthy trees provide numerous benefits such as providing wildlife habit, decreasing soil erosion, cleaning the air and cooling people and buildings, not to mention their beauty and stately presence,” Knowles said.
Last year, USC completed a tree inventory that will help sustain the campus forest for future generations. The university has increased the number of trees by 35 percent, or 2,500 trees, since 2003.
Knowles said students are dedicated to campus forestry. Students in Green Quad have planted trees and they maintain gardens. Outdoor Recreation, a carbon-neutral facility, has planted a fruit orchard and plants trees each year as part of the university’s landscaping and environmental plan. Outdoor Rec also started the Carolina Community Gardens, a series of raised bed gardens that groups of students, faculty and staff can use to grow their own food. The gardens are located between the Horseshoe and Preston Residential College.
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