In early 2013, the national Arbor Day Foundation named LSU a Tree Campus USA for the first time.

Tree Campus USA was created in 2008 to honor universities and colleges for effective management of campus forests and engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

“Achieving recognition as a Tree Campus USA is an important component in the overall management of the urban forest at LSU,” Assistant director of LSU Landscape Services Fred Fellner, PhD, said. “The size and value of the campus forest, both in literal and perceptive terms, is enormous. The trees are recognized world over and are a signature element at LSU.”

Since 1993, donors’ support of the LSU Foundation’s Endow an Oak program has provided immediate and long-term funding for the care of LSU’s renowned urban forest.

Josh Anders and brothers Jason and Judd, all LSU graduates, recently endowed an oak in memory of their grandmother, Juanita “Neet” Crawford, a Louisiana conservationist.

Anders shared why the gift is meaningful to his family, explaining, “My brothers and I will always consider the oaks on LSU’s campus a timeless, integral part of the university. Being able to invest in the sustainability of LSU’s historic oaks has been a great experience for my family.”

Fellner said the program was a valuable feature when applying for LSU as a Tree Campus USA. “Indeed, it was the principal driver in data collection and tree identification over the past many years that made our application process easier,” he said. “This was an unexpected benefit of the endowment program, could not be anticipated at its inception, and was truly
serendipitous.”

LSU achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, dedicating annual expenditutres toward trees, having a campus tree-care plan, and hosting an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.

LSU’s campus is home to roughly 1,200 oak trees, and they are as much a part of the university as are its students, faculty, staff and historic buildings.

Gifts of any amount may be made to the Foundation’s Endow an Oak program to support the general care and maintenance of LSU’s most treasured natural “residents.” An LSU oak can be endowed for a gift of $4,000, of which $2,000 builds the oak endowment to provide perpetual support and $2,000 can be used immediately by LSU’s arbor management team.

Published in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2013.

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