Story of The Week 2/27/2017

Seeing The Forest for The Trees

By Hunter Trowbridge, Native Plant Land Manager with Green Mountain College

When I began this position, I was shown the beginning stages of an application for a program called Tree Campus USA, started by the Arbor Day Foundation. This program helps schools to integrate native plants into their campus lands and includes a solid commitment to properly caring for campus trees. The application process is long and technical, and required a lot of research, planning, discussion, and revision. The process also included the formation of a tree care committee, and coordination with the land use committee, so there were a lot of moving parts to organize.

There was also a service project that benefits trees as a requirement to be eligible, so I organized and lead a glossy buckthorn pull: an invasive plant which threatens early successional forest ecosystems. Towards the end of the college semester, my supervisor and I were able to work collaboratively and effectively to complete the application process, and the application was submitted before the deadline on December 28th.

I really believe in the Tree Campus USA program, because it establishes responsible parties and a sense of commitment to properly managing campus lands. The tree care plan we developed is also very open ended, and I was able to apply my degree in wildlife and conservation biology to the plan and present a document that helps to provide both aesthetic and habitat value. I put a lot of time and effort into making sure this plan got finished, reviewed, approved, and submitted on time, and I genuinely believe the campus lands will be better for it.

VHCB AmeriCorps is a program of the
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board.

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