As you enjoy the peak fall colors on Bellarmine University's campus, you might take a moment to thank the relatively unheralded campus tree committee. Their work has helped the university earn a Tree Campus USA designation for four years running.
Bellarmine’s status as a Tree Campus USA recognizes that we take our environmental obligations seriously, and that we are committed to making the greater Louisville community greener, more beautiful and more livable for many years to come," said Dr. Robert Kingsolver, professor of ecology.
The designation - bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation - requires Bellarmine to do five things
✓ Organize a campus tree committee.
✓ Develop a campus tree care plan.
✓ Fund the tree care plan.
✓ Observe Arbor Day.
✓ Conduct at least one service learning project.
Over the past three years, the tree committee has guided the planting of 42 campus trees, with two more coming before the end of 2018. They've also worked with the university's environmental studies program for annual student service projects, including a day spent removing invasive plant species
near Our Lady of the Woods Chapel in April.
The tree committee is currently finalizing documentation to extend Bellarmine's Tree Campus USA designation into a fifth year.
"Trees are valued everywhere, but nowhere more than on a college campus," said Kingsolver. "After all, Bellarmine is not just a workplace. It is home to many residential students who enjoy our landscaping all day long, and all through the year.
"Our plantings are a resource for teaching about the natural world, and provide a welcoming green space for the neighborhood. Because universities endure beyond the span of a human life, our plans can extend far into the future. For example, a white oak we plant this fall may be enjoyed by Bellarmine students walking these grounds well into the next century."