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Georgia Tech lauded for its trees

The Georgia Institute of Technology recently became one of the first 10 colleges selected nationwide as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. It’s a seal of approval that says the Yellow Jackets know how to take care of their trees.

Georgia Tech lauded for its trees

Susan Reisch (left), an urban forester with the Georgia Forestry Commission, served on the committee that honored Tech. Hyacinth Ide is Tech’s facilities landscape manager.

How Georgia Tech made the grade

• Created a campus tree advisory committee made up of faculty, students and community representatives.

• Came up with a tree care plan with goals and policies to protect trees, even during construction.

• Set aside an annual tree maintenance budget. In this case, Tech went well above the suggested minimum with a budget of $383,313 not including volunteer time.

Tree facts

• Tech has about 195 mature trees on its 400-acre campus.

• Two full-time staff members take care of the trees, an arborist and an equipment operator.

• The tree canopy, which is the percentage of ground shaded by trees, is 33.8 percent. Tech’s minimum goal is 55 percent.

What’s so great about trees?

“A beautiful campus attracts quality students,” said Tech’s facilities landscape manager, Hyacinth Ide. “The landscape is the first impression.”

According to Tech’s annual survey of students, the second reason given for choosing the school is “quality of place,” behind academic programs.

Biggest challenges

• Trash

• Short cuts through lawns and flower gardens

• Construction

• Drought: During the drought, Ide’s staff is using condensate from the buildings’ heating and air-conditioning units to water the landscape.

Other Tree Campus USA colleges

Virginia Tech, Jackson State, Arizona State, Nebraska, Oregon State, Northern Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, UC-San Diego

— Sources: Georgia Tech and Arbor Day Foundation

Dec 11, 2008
Stacy Shelton
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Community Forestry, Education, Certification
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