Vincennes University was honored with a 2021 Tree Campus Higher Education recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation for its commitment to effective urban forest management.
VU is promoting healthy trees and green spaces on the 200-plus acre Vincennes Campus in addition to engaging students, faculty, and staff in the spirit of conservation while contributing to a healthier environment and a more sustainable world for all.
The Arbor Day Foundation notes if ever there was a time for trees, now is that time.
Research shows green environments positively impact mental health, encourage physical activity, and improve the quality of life.
“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.”
VU achieved the national distinction for its commitment to a green and sustainable campus by meeting five core standards for sustainable campus forestry, including having a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated spending on a campus tree program, Arbor Day observance, and a student-service learning project.
Agriculture and Horticulture Coordinator Jennifer Nettles spearheaded efforts to establish VU as a Tree Campus Higher Education campus.
According to Nettles, “We saw a need on our campus to plant and maintain a diverse population of trees long term. Our plan covers the planning, planting, care, and maintenance of trees on campus, paying close attention to increasing a diverse canopy cover, promoting tree health, and protecting trees during campus renovations.”
Research shows green environments have a positive impact on well-being and mental health. They also encourage physical activity.
The Vincennes Campus is also an open laboratory classroom for students in the Horticulture program. They learn how to identify, plant, prune, and mulch trees along with their importance to our daily lives. The campus has around 55 different types of trees.
“Seeing the tree, touching the bark, and getting an up-close and personal view of the trees and shrubs help the students to see the differences and learn more about each one,” Nettles said.