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Visitors to the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh marvel at the natural beauty evident at its Fond du Lac, Fox Cities and Oshkosh campuses.

For the first time, all three UWO school sites have received Tree Campus USA designations from the Arbor Day Foundation for their commitment to effective urban forest management in 2019.

Ask an Arborist! on Friday

Coronavirus shut down UW Oshkosh campuses last month, forcing groups to find creative ways to hold events.

Throughout the day April 24, UW Oshkosh will host Ask an Arborist! via online chat on the UW Oshkosh Sustainability Facebook page. Tree care questions will be fielded by professionals, including Bill Sturm of the City of Oshkosh and other foresters.

Elite status

It is believed UW Oshkosh is the first UW System school in the state with the main and all access campuses receiving such designations.

“One of UW Oshkosh’s foundational elements is sustainability, and one of the ways we show our commitment to that is with our Tree Campus USA designation,” said Brad Spanbauer, UWO sustainability officer, who said one of the best ways to help with climate change is to plant trees.

Trees and other plants take in carbon dioxide and it’s stored in their tissues as they grow. Spanbauer said carbon from human combustion of fossil fuels (in the form of carbon dioxide) has been building up in the atmosphere, trapping heat, and thus, leading to warming.

“We need to increase planting trees globally to start to absorb the excess carbon in the atmosphere,” he said.

Trees are priority

UW Oshkosh achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards: maintaining a tree advisory committee; maintaining a campus tree-care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program; holding an Arbor Day observance; and student service-learning project.

UWO’s Oshkosh campus has been designated the past 10 years; Fox Cities the past eight years and Fond du Lac earned its first designation after holding an Arbor Day Celebration in 2019 that was required to be recognized as a tree campus.

“Visitors to our campuses find green spaces in addition to our academic and event buildings,” said Martin Rudd, assistant chancellor for access campuses. “We plan, with county and community partners, so that these spaces are occupied with appropriate species of trees for northeast Wisconsin and that our trees are in good shape. Those healthy trees that make up our campuses’ forests create shaded areas for relaxing, enhance air quality and provide wildlife habitats. Our campuses are proud to have received the 2019 designation of Tree Campus USA.”

UW Oshkosh’s three campuses are among 385 campuses across the U.S. that have earned the recognition.

Don Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, said Tree Campuses showcase how trees create a healthier environment.

“Because of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s participation,” he said, “air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”

Tree planting postponed

The UW Oshkosh campuses intend to host ceremonial tree planting activities when a return to campuses occurs—hoped for early summer.

At Oshkosh, plans are in place to plant 36 trees with support of the campus Green Fund, according to Lisa Mick, supervisor of grounds and automotive. There are more than 1,500 trees on the Oshkosh campus.

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