UR will receive $1,000 to fund a tree planting event after finishing second behind Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the National Arbor Day Foundation competition.
The National Arbor Day Foundation is a non-profit conservation and education organization “with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees.” A total of 53,747 votes were cast in the contest, which ran from March 22 to April 4. UR finished 488 votes behind Virginia Polytechnic.
The contest was open to any Tree Campus USA school. UR Manager of Horticulture and Grounds Daniel Scheid submitted a proposal that was one of the ten picked for the contest. UR is one of 146 Tree Campus USA schools in North America and has received this designation two years in a row.
In order to be a Tree Campus institution, a school must demonstrate five key criteria: establishment of a campus tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the campus tree-care plan, involvement in an Arbor Day observance and the institution of a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.
Scheid said it was “great fun” to hear that UR had received the grant. The money will be used to support several initiatives, such as tree saplings that will be bought for an Earth Day project. Various kinds of oak trees have already been ordered for the Genesee Valley Park (GVP), which had 197 different kinds of oak trees when the renowned landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted created it. These oaks will be planted along the Genesee River near the Interfaith Chapel in Bausch and Lomb Park.
Much of the funding will go toward a collaborative Arbor Day celebration involving Monroe County, the city of Rochester and the University. The event is going to honor the “Tree of Life,” an iconic and grandiose tree in Genesee Valley Park that fell and was split in two in 2010. According to Scheid, the idea for this event was “just natural.”
“As soon as they figured out what they were going to do with the remains of the Tree of Life, which is right now forming a sort of a gateway on a path in the park, it was a natural location [for the event],” he said. “[The celebration] came into fruition because it made sense.”
Students are encouraged to come to the celebration, which begins at 11:00 a.m. on April 27. It will begin at the entrance of the Genesee Valley Park at the sight of the fallen Tree of Life and will be followed by tree planting on campus along the Genesee River.
Hansler is a member of the class of 2015.