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Honored as Tree Campus USA for 6th Year in a Row by Arbor Day Foundation

Cal Poly's large urban forest and commitment to urban forest management contributed to the decision.

For the sixth consecutive year, Cal Poly has been named a Tree Campus USA for its commitment to urban forest management, the Arbor Day Foundation announced.

The 2019 award — the foundation honors campuses for their previous year’s commitment — recognizes Cal Poly’s best practices in managing one of the largest and most diverse university urban forests in the nation. Since 2014, Cal Poly has met Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and student service-learning project.

“Cal Poly’s urban forest serves many important functions,” said Christopher Wassenberg, the university’s landscape manager. “It is a living laboratory for students and an environmental filter for our air and water, and it provides psychological benefits to improve our everyday quality of life.

“Managing our urban forest requires a commitment not only to the urban forest as a whole but also to the value of each individual tree when making management decisions. Cooperation and coordination between many campus entities allows us to make choices that honor the value of trees as our campus continues to grow and evolve.”

Cal Poly is among 16 California colleges or universities and more than 360 other schools in 47 states, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., to carry the Tree Campus USA designation. But it stands apart from the rest boasting the largest variety of tree species on a university campus in the nation. In the campus core alone, there are 6,600 trees and nearly 550 varieties. 

“If ever there was a time for trees, now is that time,” said Lauren Weyers, coordinator of The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program. “Communities worldwide are facing issues with air quality, water resources, personal health and well-being, and energy use. Cal Poly is stepping up to do its part. As a result of your commitment to effective urban forest management, you are helping to provide a solution to these global challenges.”