In recognition of the University of Pittsburgh’s outstanding commitment to protecting and enhancing local tree canopy, the Arbor Day Foundation has certified the University’s Pittsburgh campus as a 2021 Tree Campus for the first time!
This certification program nationally honors universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and employees in the spirit of conversation. To obtain this distinction, Pitt met the 5 core standards for sustainable campus forestry required by Tree Campus Higher Education:
- Establishing a Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Developing a Campus Tree Care Plan
- Dedicating annual expenditures for tree care
- Observing Arbor Day (make sure to follow Pitt Sustainability social media accounts for our Arbor Day campaigns!)
- Sponsoring service learning projects, which have recently included:
- The first ever Pitt Tree Tenders Training for student and employees to help support street trees in Oakland and other Pittsburgh neighborhoods (delivered by Tree Pittsburgh in partnership with Pitt’s Sustainability and Community Engagement teams alongside Oakland Planning and Development Corporation (OPDC));
- TreeVitalize Oakland street tree plantings;
- Girty Woods Cleanups lead by Epsilon Eta; and
- Pitt Civic Action Week tree plantings.
The Pitt Sustainability Plan identifies 3 themes to help focus the University’s sustainability efforts and key performance indicators for tracking progress. The Stewardship theme helps ensure responsible and efficient resource management to minimize the environmental impacts of University operations, including a Landscape & Ecology goal of increasing tree canopy 50% by 2030.
Increasing tree canopy on- and off-campus helps contribute to Pitt’s broader stewardship by providing shade, supporting local ecosystems, helping with stormwater management, reducing urban heat island effect, and providing mental health benefits. As part of the Campus Master Plan, the Pittsburgh campus completed a tree inventory in 2019, documenting nearly 4,000 trees of diverse species and maturities that provide 29.95 acres of tree canopy.
Teams across the University work to responsibly steward existing trees, while creating space and opportunity for future trees both on- and off-campus. Learn more.