For the 10th straight year, Bellarmine is a Tree Campus USA

March 29, 2024

Bellarmine Arch in early spring with redbud tree in foreground
The Arbor Day Foundation has once again designated Bellarmine a Tree Campus USA—marking the 10th consecutive year the university has won the honor. 
“That is a strong testament to the university’s commitment to campus stewardship and tree conservation,” said Jack Baggett, Urban and Community Forestry Partnership coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Baggett’s duties include providing assistance and support for Tree Campus USA partners.
The designation, which Bellarmine first earned in 2014, means that the university continues to meet the following five core standards for sustainability of campus forestry: 
Establishing a tree advisory committee 
Providing evidence of a campus tree care plan 
Dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program 
Having an Arbor Day observance 
Sponsoring student service-learning projects
“It’s our campus trees that make Bellarmine’s beauty really stand out year-round.  I’ve come to enjoy marking the seasons as the trees bloom and leaf out and grow,” said Dr. Kate Bulinski, associate professor of Environmental Studies. “My favorite is the gigantic Shagbark Hickory at the campus farm that sometimes yields bumper crops of hickory nuts in the fall.  Last year, it yielded so many nuts that they could be gathered by the bucketful!”
Earlier this year, the non-profit organization Trees Louisville donated six native trees—two yellowwood, two sourwood and two bur oaks—to Bellarmine that were planted in February.  
Later this year, Leia Staples, an Environmental Science student and Bellarmine’s Tree Campus USA student representative, will represent Bellarmine on the Advisory Committee for the Louisville Urban Forestry Master Plan. “We are looking forward to collaborating with other institutions across the city to promote the expansion and health of our tree canopy more broadly,” Bulinski said.  
Bellarmine’s Tree Campus USA program will also be staffing a table at the Louisville Tree Fest on April 13, where they will be raising money for future tree plantings.  
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is responsible for planting and distributing 500 million trees around the world. In 2008 the foundation formed the Tree Campus Higher Education program to promote campus forestry initiatives across the country. 

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