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SIU earns Tree Campus Higher Education honors for 9th time

Southern Illinois University Carbondale: A Leader in Sustainability For the ninth consecutive year, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIU) has proudly earned the prestigious Tree Campus Higher Education designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. This honor highlights SIU's dedication to effective forest management and sustainability, placing it among only 411 institutions nationwide recognized for their green initiatives.

What is Tree Campus Higher Education?
The Tree Campus Higher Education program, formerly known as Tree Campus USA, celebrates colleges and universities that show a deep commitment to managing and expanding their campus forests. To earn this recognition, SIU met five rigorous sustainability standards:

  • Establishing and maintaining a tree advisory committee.
  • Creating and updating a campus tree care plan.
  • Sustaining a campus tree program.
  • Hosting an annual Arbor Day observance.
  • Sponsoring student service-learning projects.

A Thriving Ecosystem at SIU

"Southern Illinois University Carbondale is proud to receive the Tree Campus Higher Education designation for the ninth consecutive year," said Mark Owens, director of facilities and energy management. "Our campus is not just a place of learning but also a thriving ecosystem, where our diverse tree population enhances the beauty and environmental health of our university. We remain dedicated to fostering a green and sustainable campus for our students, faculty, and community."

SIU's main campus boasts more than 5,200 inventoried trees, encompassing over 150 different species across its 1,200 acres. Beyond this, the university's auxiliary properties, including the Touch of Nature Outdoor Education Center's 3,400 acres along Little Grassy Lake and the University Farms, house thousands more.

Interactive and Educational Initiatives

To enhance the community's engagement with campus flora, SIU has implemented a QR tree coding system. This allows anyone to scan a code and learn about the tree's species, bark, fruit, leaves, and other characteristics. Additionally, the SIU Arboretum offers six self-guided tree identification tours available for free, both virtually and in person. SIU is the first university in Illinois to achieve Level II Arboretum Accreditation from the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and is listed in the Morton Register of Arboreta.

Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

SIU’s sustainability efforts extend beyond tree management. The campus regularly hosts an Arbor Day tree planting event and organizes outreach activities, such as tree-walks for local school children, promoting environmental education and community involvement.

For more information about SIU’s arboretum and sustainability initiatives, visit our SIU Arboretum website or contact the Facilities Operations Center at foc.facilities@siu.edu.

Explore SIU's beautiful and diverse tree population through our Virtual Tree Tour or a 360 Degree Virtual Tree Tour. Join us in our mission to create a greener, more sustainable future

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