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USD Seeks Tree Campus USA Designation in Anticipation of Arbor Day

Photo of USD students planting tree for Arbor Day ceremony. Students and staff help plant a new tree near Danforth Chapel at the 2017 Arbor Day ceremony.

VERMILLION, S.D. – As part of a plan to become recertified as a Tree Campus USA member, the University of South Dakota announced its intention to pursue certification at a tree-planting ceremony honoring Arbor Day.

“USD has a beautiful campus and invests the necessary time and money into its upkeep,” said Nate Steele, manager of grounds and landscaping. “Many of the items addressed in the Tree Campus USA standards are in place, it is now time for those efforts to be recognized.”

During the 2017 calendar year, USD Facilities Management will work through the Campus Tree Advisory Committee established in March to complete the application for Tree Campus USA status. The Campus Tree Advisory Committee is comprised of USD students, faculty, facilities management, a representative from the Vermillion community and a representative from the City of Vermillion Parks and Recreation Department.

USD will need to complete five requirements to gain membership including the formation of the advisory committee, holding annual Arbor Day observances, documenting a formal tree care plan for campus, documenting a dedicated annual expenditure for the care of the campus trees and conducting a service learning project that gets students involved with the Tree Campus USA program.

At last Friday’s Arbor Day ceremony, hosted early to avoid conflicts with end-of-semester testing, students from USD law school’s environmental law club helped grounds and landscaping plant a new horizon Japanese elm tree to replace several trees damaged near Danforth Chapel in an ice storm last winter. When it reaches maturity, it should fill the area with rusty red foliage every fall.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News