University News

WIU Designated Tree Campus USA for Fifth Consecutive Year

March 20, 2017

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MACOMB, IL -- For the fifth 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

"Western Illinois University is a beautiful campus. It is an honor be recognized for five consecutive years as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. The efforts of our landscape maintenance staff and our many volunteers have certainly contributed to Western's Tree Campus USA designation, and we are most appreciative of the work they do," said Matt Bierman, interim vice president for administrative services.

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.

"Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment," said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. "Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all."

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