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Tree Campus USA recognizes UNG for fourth straight year

2019-03-11-Arbor-Day-2
UNG has been designated as a 2019 Tree Campus USA for helping the trees across all five campuses multiply and remain in good health. Last year, Dr. Allison Bailey and others planted a Cherokee brave dogwood tree in front of John L. Nix Mountain Cultural Center on UNG's Dahlonega Campus to mark the occasion. Assisting with the planting last year were: Carrie Allen, senior lecture of biology; two UNG students; Bailey; and Seth Hawkins of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

For years, University of North Georgia (UNG) students, faculty and staff have helped the trees across all five campuses multiply and remain in good health. For that feat and many more, UNG has been designated as a 2019 Tree Campus USA.

"It is fabulous," said Dr. Allison Bailey, associate professor of environmental studies in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis. "It shows that UNG is dedicated to the environmental sustainability on its campuses and maintains green spaces for student health and enjoyment."

Known as an Arbor Day Foundation program, Tree Campus USA honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation. UNG met the five core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus USA to obtain the distinction. Standards included establishing a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for a campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects.

Bailey credits UNG's facilities department and its grounds crew with earning the school's recognition every year since 2016.

"They are the ones outdoors doing the hard work," she said, explaining the staff uses a student-generated tree inventory map to develop a tree-care plan for all five campuses. "They maintain our tree-care plan, and they only remove trees when it's necessary because of disease."

David Foster, manager of grounds and landscaping at UNG's Gainesville and Cumming campuses, said the property is divided into zones and is assigned to an employee to monitor.

"They look up in the trees and underneath the trees to search for dead and fallen limbs," he said. "And we address any tree that might be dead or dying."

Woody Adams, assistant director of facilities south including Gainesville and Cumming campuses, said UNG also works with a certified arborist to save as many trees effected by disease or in need of extra care.

"We try to save them or keep them healthy," he said.

Adams explained the grounds and landscaping crews also plant a lot of trees. Based on the number of trees planted on all five campuses, more than 100 trees were added in the past year. Each time construction and development projects happen on a campus, trees are part the plan. For example, if parking spaces are added or a building is expanded, trees are planted.

"Because of this policy, we have always gained trees on UNG's campuses," Bailey said, adding trees improve the campus experience. "Trees give students a place to sit and study since we have Wi-Fi access outside. Students have a place to hang their hammocks on campus. Trees also offset the auto emissions, so it feels comfortable to breathe outside."

To celebrate the most recent accomplishment, UNG will display the 2019 plaque in Price Memorial Hall on UNG's Dahlonega Campus. A new tree will be planted on one of the campuses, but the date is pending.

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