Vassar College’s beautiful 1,000-acre campus, which is home to more than 1,500 trees, has received Tree Campus USA designation from the Arbor Day Foundation.
From its earliest years, the college has attended to its campus trees. The class of 1868 established the tradition of class trees with the planting of a white swamp oak, and the class of 1875 later funded the creation of an arboretum and endowed its maintenance. “Applying for Tree Campus USA designation through the Arbor Day Foundation was a great way to give legitimacy to our sustainable landscaping efforts and support the historic legacy of our trees,” says Alistair Hall, assistant for sustainability activities at Vassar.
“This designation is a nice complement to our holistic approach to landscaping on campus, which includes the creation of naturalized ‘no-mow’ areas, environmentally friendly lawn care products, and annual inspection, pruning and maintenance of our trees” Hall explains.
To gain recognition Vassar had to meet several standards, including having a tree committee. At Vassar this group includes grounds staff, members of the Poughkeepsie community, students, faculty and administrators, who advise on major landscaping decisions on campus and help enforce the campus tree care plan.
Other requirements for this designation include observation of Arbor Day (this is done on campus with an arboretum tour) and a service learning project. This year’s project entailed the planting of 1,100 trees on the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve through a partnership with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Student Conservation Corps. Additional service projects throughout the year have included the removal of invasive vines on campus, and forthcoming signage.
Vassar is located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie, NY, and directions to the campus can be found at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.