POUGHKEEPSIE — Vassar College’s beautiful 1,000-acre campus, which is home to more than 1,500 trees, has received Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.
The class of 1865 established the Vassar College Arboretum, which has expanded by the year since the first class tree planting ceremony in 1868. "Applying for Tree Campus USA designation through the Arbor Day Foundation was a great way to give legitimacy to our sustainable landscaping efforts and support the historic legacy of our trees," says Alistair Hall, assistant for sustainability activities at Vassar.
"This designation is a nice complement to our holistic approach to landscaping on campus, which includes the creation of naturalized ‘no-mow’ areas, environmentally friendly lawn care products, and annual inspection, pruning and maintenance of our trees" Hall explains.
To gain recognition Vassar had to meet several standards, including having a tree committee. At Vassar this group includes grounds staff, members of the Poughkeepsie community, students, faculty and administrators, who advise on major landscaping decisions on campus and help enforce the campus tree care plan.
Other requirements for this designation include observation of Arbor Day (this is done on campus with an arboretum tour) and a service learning project. This year’s project entailed the planting of 1,100 trees on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve through a partnership with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Student Conservation Corps. Additional service projects throughout the year have included the removal of invasive vines on campus, and forthcoming signage.