Serving as an Urban Forest
UNC Asheville is committed to the care and management of single trees and naturally occurring woodlands. The UNC Asheville Grounds department currently employs three certified arborists trained and tested in the art and science of planting, caring for, and maintaining individual trees.
As an urban forest, UNC Asheville's campus provides the community with environmental, economic and social benefits. Forested parts of campus like Chestnut Ridge and The Big Meadow providing hiking and biking trails, habitat for wildlife, and cleaner air. Additionally, trees on campus intercept stormwater runoff, prevent erosion, and provide shade to minimize urban heat island effects. Thus, campus trees are a critical part of the green infrastructure that makes up the city ecosystem.
Why are Trees Important?
The UNC Asheville Grounds Department, with help from student interns, has developed a tree inventory for our campus. The tree inventory notes species, size, year planted, and health condition of existing trees and trees that have died or been removed. The inventory provides essential information for the effective management of campus trees aiding in the prioritization of maintenance needs and future planning.
Tree Campus, USA Certification
The Arbor Day Foundation started the Tree Campus, USA program to recognize effective management, development, and engagement efforts of universities committed to the health of the trees on their campuses. UNC Asheville received a Tree Campus certification by meeting the 5 standards:
- Create a Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Develop a Campus Tree Care Plan
- Fund Campus Tree Programs.
- Observe Arbor Day
- Sponsor a tree-related service learning project
Education and Outreach
Public education and outreach is an important part of establishing community tree advocates. UNC Asheville has hosted a community tree planting, offered guided tree walks, and provided demonstrations on pruning, planting, and tree anatomy.
As a university, trees are integrated into coursework, internships, and independent research projects. One group of students from the Department of Environmental Studies studied the Urban Forest Benefits of the UNCA Inner Campus.