IU East receives 2016 Tree Campus USA® designation

Linda Melody-Cottongim announces IU East’s designation as a Tree Campus USA® during the Arbor Day Celebration held April 28.

The Arbor Day Foundation recently announced Indiana University East has been designated as a 2016 Tree Campus USA® for its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Indiana University East achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Currently there are 296 campus across the United States with this recognition.

Linda Melody-Cottongim, administrative secretary for the School of Social Work, worked on the designation application for the campus. At the time, Melody-Cottongim was pursuing a master’s degree online from IU Bloomington and chose the Tree Campus USA designation for her DNR Tree Stewart final project as well as research for course work. The designation process lasted from fall 2015 to December 2016.

“IU East is very proud of the beautiful campus we have and we are honored to be recognized for the hard work of our staff and students to maintain and improve our forestry,” Melody-Cottongim said.

To receive this distinction, IU East met five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA, 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 and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

The Tree Campus USA tree inventory project provided volunteer in-kind hours for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from IU East faculty, staff and students and community members.  With the help of Darci Pellom, landscape architect at Indiana University Bloomington, and the IU East Staff Council, an Arbor Day Celebration was organized in 2016 to plant trees in an area hit hard by the EAB insect as a tribute to IU East’s first director, Fred Groshmeyer, and the graduating class of 2016, Melody-Cottongim said. A Tree Plan was created as a guide for sound practices to protect trees already on campus as well those to be planted in years to come. The Tree Campus USA Advisory committee includes Linda Melody-Cottongim; Neil Sabine, dean of the School of Science and Mathematics; Gail Smoker, director of Operations for the Office of Physical Facilities at IU East; and Stephanie McCurdy, naturalist at Hayes Arboretum.

This designation for the IU East campus is the first Indiana University regional campus to be honored. IUPUI and IU Bloomington are Tree Campus USA members.

IU East celebrated its Tree Campus USA designation during its Arbor Day Celebration held April 28. The celebration was hosted by the IU East Sustainability Council. As part of the event, 75 trees were given away to guests and another 25 trees were planted around campus. One tree was planted on campus in celebration of Peggy Branstrator, retired professor and avid campus beautification advocate.

About the Arbor Day Foundation
The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $46.7 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org