Goshen Colleges works on the process of becoming a “tree campus.”
Three years ago Joe Friesen, a 2010 graduate, started the process of applying for Goshen to become a Tree Campus, but was not able to finish before he graduated.
Members of the Ecological Stewardship Committee have decided to follow through with Friesen’s efforts. Carina Zehr, a senior, will be taking the student leadership position on this initiative.
The Tree Campus concept is similar to the Tree City concept started by the Arbor Day Foundation.
In order to become certified as a Tree Campus, the school has to meet five standards. According to the Arbor Day Foundation website, these standards include: the formation of a tree advising committee, the development of a tree care plan, a tree program with dedicated annual funding expeditions, an arbor day observation and the incorporation of a service learning project.
For Zehr and the committee, the aim of becoming a certified tree campus is “to create a community that values the trees that we have on campus.”
The certification requires a care plan from the college, and the committee’s objective not only strives to encourage a deeper appreciation for the campus trees, but also to create an opportunity to develop the sense of community on campus. Zehr hopes for Goshen students to become involved in volunteering and continuing to care about the campus trees.
The upcoming service learning project for this initiative will be held on will Friday, April 11th, helping the grounds department plant trees. The event will be taking place from 1-4 p.m. on campus.
An Arbor Day observance event will also be taking place in conjunction with the city on April 25th. The event is open to the campus community.
By becoming a Tree Campus, “Goshen students can become involved in the care of trees on campus and the campus can show to the broader community that we care about our trees,” said Zehr.