A photo of the Solitary Oak tree on Northeastern's Main Campus on a sunny day

Thursday, April 28, 2022

For the seventh consecutive year, Northeastern Illinois University has received a Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for promoting healthy trees and engaging the University community in conservation efforts.

In order to earn this distinction, the University had to meet the five core standards for effective campus forest management according to Tree Campus USA: a tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and a student service-learning project.

This award was made possible through the collaborative efforts of faculty and staff members in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, the Department of Biology and Facilities Management.

“NEIU staff and faculty across many departments collaborate to maintain a large and very diverse collection of tree species,” Geography and Environmental Studies Instructor Robyn Flakne said. “These trees beautify our campus and provide food and shelter for insects, birds and other wildlife. They also provide our students with learning opportunities ranging from tree identification to maple syrup collection. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education program honors the value we place on caring for, learning about, and celebrating our trees, and we look forward to continuing this productive relationship.”

According to the Arbor Day Foundation, trees on campus and in urban spaces can lower energy costs by providing shade cover, cleaner air and water, and green spaces for students and faculty. In addition, trees improve students' mental and cognitive health, provide an appealing aesthetic for campuses, and create shaded areas for studying and gathering. There are 393 campuses across the United States that received this recognition. 

“Trees not only play a vital role in the environment but also in our daily lives,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Having trees on college and university campuses is a great way to show a commitment to students and faculty’s overall well being.”

The Tree Campus USA program honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. With over one million members, the Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.