University News

WIU Designated Tree Campus USA for Sixth Consecutive Year

March 7, 2018

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MACOMB, IL -- For the sixth consecutive year, Western Illinois University has been designated a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The national Tree Campus USA program was created in 2008 to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Toyota helped launch the program and continues its financial support.

According to Tree Campus USA, Western continues to achieve the title by meeting the organization's five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee, having a campus tree care plan, dedicating annual expenditures toward trees, hosting an Arbor Day observance and sponsoring student service-learning projects.

Western's landscape maintenance department, within facilities management, maintains more than nearly 2,700 trees on the Macomb campus. Each fall, and each spring, in honor of Arbor Day, as part of the We Care event, Western's volunteer campus beautification program, trees are planted and/or mulching is completed around existing trees. Also as a part of Arbor Day, Forestry Instructor Paul Blome and WIU urban forestry management students lead tree plantings with elementary schools in western Illinois, a tradition that was started in 1993 by WIU Forestry Professor Tom Green. In addition, each spring semester, two trees are planted on WIU's Macomb campus to honor WIU employees and students who have passed away. A complete WIU tree inventory can be found at

"It is an honor to be recognized for the sixth year as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The work of our landscape maintenance staff is largely part responsible for this continued designation for our beautiful campus," said Matt Bierman, vice president for administrative services.

According to landscape maintenance supervisor Tara Heath, while faced with budgetary challenges in 2017, landscape maintenance still accomplished the much needed Emerald Ash Borer treatments on campus thanks to donations raised through the WIU Foundation's special GoFundMe 'Save WIU's Ash Trees' campaign. WIU alumni and certified arborists Aaron Schulz and Charles Goodrich volunteered their services to make the treatments to 38 Ash trees. Additional trees will be treated in 2018 this year and treatments will continue on a rotating basis to ensure the health of the campus' Ash trees.

According to WIU English Professor Emeritus and Historian John Hallwas, the WIU campus was designed by landscape architect Thomas Hawkes of Chicago, and in 1903-1905 noted horticulturalist John Van Ness Standish selected and supervised the planting of approximately 500 trees.

The Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have helped campuses throughout the country plant hundreds of thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested $46.7 million in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at

Posted By: WIU News (
Office of University Relations