Branching Out

A conglomerate of Jamestown Community College students, teachers and staff participated in Arbor Day celebrations by introducing four new trees on the Jamestown campus.

On Friday, a group of students and teachers gathered to witness the annual tree-planting ceremony while Greg DeCinque, JCC president, issued a proclamation announcing April 26 as Arbor Day at all JCC locations.

“This time of year, for me, is always really exciting with the trees, because I sit and I wait to see the trees start to bud. It’s just so symbolic that something is really about to happen,” said DeCinque. “I urge all faculty, staff and students to celebrate Arbor Day, and to support efforts to protect our trees and woodlands. And I urge all citizens to plant trees to gladden the heart, and to promote the well-being of this, and future, generations.”

For the past four years, JCC has earned a Tree Campus USA designation. In order to achieve this title, the campus had to meet five standards, including maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, dedicated annual expenditures toward trees, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning projects.

JCC was the first community college in New York state to achieve this designation. In a pamphlet from 2010, the Jamestown campus boasted 12 different tree types.

According to Janis Bowman, associate professor of biology and tree advisory committee chairperson, one major goal of the tree committee is to expand upon that diversity, as well as maintain the college’s existing trees.

“What we’re trying to do is build our arboretum,” she said. “(We try to) gain diversity (with) as many native species as we can, and just kind of watch the health of our trees and maintain them the best that we can. It’s a really great honor, and it’s something we’re very proud of.”

Bowman said the college’s Tree Campus USA designation requires the planting of at least one tree on Arbor Day, which the campus has exceeded each year. In addition to the four trees planted on Friday, a group of spruce trees were also planted during the fall as part of the college’s planting movement.

Tree Campus USA is a national program, created in 2008, to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management, and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Toyota helped launch the program, and continues to provide financial support for Tree Campus USA.

The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant hundreds of thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested $23 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at www.arborday.org/treecampususa.