Students and faculty at Valencia College will be planting 100 trees on Valencia’s West Campus on Mar. 29, as the college celebrates being named a Tree Campus USA.
The trees, which are all native to Florida and packed in 15- and 30-gallon pots, were donated by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota to celebrate the college’s commitment to tree care and sustainability.
Valencia College is one of seven Tree Campus USA participants hosting a tree-planting this year. The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.
The tree-planting event will start at 10 a.m., with student volunteers checking in to receive their T-shirts, hats and gloves. At 10:30 a.m., a ceremony will be held with representatives from the Arbor Day Foundation, Valencia College and the Florida Forest Service.
Following the West Campus ceremony at 10:30 a.m., students, staff and volunteers from the college and Arbor Day Foundation will plant a variety of trees in four parts of campus:
- Winged elm and Southern red cedar trees will be planted on the southern and western sides of buildings to reduce the buildings’ energy use
- Longleaf pine trees will be planted in the open fields near Kirkman Road for sandhill restoration
- Southern slash pines will provide screening and habitat near the south entry road to the college
- And a wide variety of native trees will be planted near Lake Pamela, an area that will serve as a living laboratory for educational use
“We at Valencia are deeply honored to have been named a Tree Campus USA and to have been chosen to receive such a generous donation from the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota,” said Dr. Sanford Shugart, Valencia College president. “We take seriously our goal of educating the whole student and we believe that includes teaching our students to be stewards of the environment.”
Valencia is one of 674 colleges and universities that have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, with a goal to reduce the college’s carbon footprint 25 percent by the year 2025. Planting trees is one strategy to help Valencia achieve that goal.
Valencia College achieved the Tree Campus USA designation by meeting the required five core standards for sustainable campus forestry: a tree advisory committee, 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.
Valencia is the only two-year college to receive a tree-planting grant this year – and it’s just the second community college to receive the grant since the Tree Campus program began in 2008. The other colleges receiving grants this year are Purdue University, University of Colorado, Colorado State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and University of Illinois, Chicago.
The tree-planting is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in conjunction with the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, with support from Toyota.
During 2011, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota helped campuses throughout the country plant 30,000 trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities have invested more than $22 million in campus forest management. More information about the Tree Campus USA program is available at www.arborday.org/TreeCampusUSA.
Valencia’s West Campus is located at 1800 S. Kirkman Road, Orlando.