California State University, Fresno has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program for “its dedication to campus forestry management and environmental stewardship.”
Fresno State is the only one of the 23 California State University campuses to earn the designation, which has been bestowed on only 16 campuses across the United States. California’s only other Tree Campus USA is the University of California, San Diego.
“This is a great honor that recognizes not only what we’re doing today, but also the forward thinking over many decades at Fresno State,” said Ryan McCaughey, the university’s manager of grounds and arboretum. “Since the 1950s, when the first trees planted were planted, our camps has served as a major expanse of green in an increasingly urban area.”
With about 4,000 trees representing more than 100 species and thousands of other plantings and flowers, the 327-acre academic campus was designated a state arboretum in 1978. The varieties of plantings on view today have evolved over time, reflecting changing conditions such as disease, climate and water availability.
The trees help scrub the air of pollutants, provide energy-saving shade for buildings and contribute to cooler temperatures on campus and the urbanized area surrounding it during the summer heat.
Fresno State actively encourages the greater regional community to visit the campus arboretum to appreciate its beauty and serenity and to observe landscaping possibilities they might put to use in backyards or at businesses. Over the years, the public has been involved in helping maintain specific plantings and the university has worked with Tree Fresno volunteers in tree-plantings on and off the campus.
Members of the public also serve on the Arboretum Subcommittee, an advisory body on campus plantings.
McCaughey, who came to Fresno State in 2006, recently was designated by the Professional Grounds Management Society as a certified grounds manager. He leads a staff of more than 20 people who care for the campus plantings, Fresno State athletics venues and University House, the president’s residence. The Grounds Department is within the Facilities Management Department at Fresno State, which is housed in the Division of Administrative Services.
“The Tree Campus USA program will have a lasting impact at Fresno State and throughout the country because it will engage students and local citizens to plant trees and create healthier communities for people to enjoy for generations to come,” said John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, which is based in Lincoln, Neb.
“Fresno State will benefit from better tree-care practices on campus, and it will help connect the university with tree-care professionals in their community to improve the tree canopy in Fresno,” added Rosenow.
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008, honors universities and the leaders of the campus and surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship. Tree Campus USA is supported by a $750,000 grant from Toyota.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization of nearly 1 million members.