As the oldest continually maintained public green space in Arizona, the University of Arizona has again earned the Tree Campus USA recognition for its work promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, honors higher education institutions and leaders across the nation for tree care initiatives.
It is the fifth year the UA has earned the designation. This year, the University once again met the five standards to be honored. Institutions honored must have a committee devoted to tree care, an implemented campus tree care plan with dedicated expenditures, plans to observe Arbor Day and a service learning project involving students.
"Your entire campus community should be proud of your sustained commitment to environmental stewardship," John Rosenow, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, noted in a letter to the UA. "We applaud your commitment to the community and to the trees of the University of Arizona and thank you for helping to create a healthier planet for us all."
More than 500 tree species from arid regions on six continents are on the UA campus and include the jam tree of South Australia, the kaffir thorn of South Africa and the wadi acacia of the Middle East. The UA campus also is home to the saguaro, the visco, the desert willow and the white thorn acacia, all natives of the American Southwest.
The UA's Campus Arboretum, a division within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is dedicated to promoting sustainable landscape practices through science-based tree care and education on campus and throughout the state.
One campus group is contributing to the UA's tree-related efforts by making sure their fruits don't go to waste. Linking Edible Arizona Forests, or LEAF, will host an informational event and harvest on April 5 from 10 a.m. to noon. Attendees will learn about the food that grows on local trees and participate in a citrus harvest. Those interested should arrive at the intersection of East Second Street and North Palm Road around 9:45 a.m. to register.
A large portion of the fruit harvested will be donated to local refugees through LEAF's partnership with the Iskashitaa Refugee Network, an organization that works with refugees from around the world to help them integrate into their new Tucson community.