Georgia Gwinnett College earns Tree Campus designation for third consecutive year
By Charlotte Reames, Class of 2021, GGC Communications Intern
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) has been recognized as a Tree Campus for 2020, the third consecutive year by the Arbor Day Foundation, a nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to planting trees in communities around the world.
“It is important to have healthy trees and urban forests on campus because it is a way that we can combat global climate change locally and benefit from positive impacts immediately,” said Marcia Ford, director of environmental health and safety.
The Tree Campus USA program was established in 2008. It honors colleges and universities for managing campus trees effectively and engaging students and faculty in conservation efforts, according to the Arbor Day Foundation website. GGC has earned the designation since 2018.
Despite the pandemic, GGC hosted several events throughout the year while following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. In February, the college held a Georgia’s Arbor Day celebration where students and faculty gathered to plant 20 apple trees in the campus microfarm.
To remain a tree campus, GGC must uphold five standards every year by maintaining: a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project. The tree planting event served as GGC’s service-learning project for 2020.
According to Ford, the Environmental Health and Safety department at GGC is using the i-Tree program, a public software developed by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service to provide urban and rural forestry analysis and benefits assessment tools, to create a tree inventory to quantify the benefit of campus trees.
Some of the benefits of having trees on campus include reducing erosion, stormwater runoff and heat islands, and absorbing pollutants in the air through their leaves. The Environmental Health and Safety department will be able to monitor these benefits with their tree inventory that is slated to be released next year.