Tree Campus K-12
Tree Campus K-12 is an Arbor Day Foundation program that "inspires the next generation of tree stewards through experiences that bring the benefits of trees to life both inside and outside the classroom. The program fosters positive connections between youth and the trees in their community and cultivates within its participants a lifelong respect for trees on a global scale."
The Urban Forestry Department is available as a resource for local schools seeking to attain Tree Campus K-12 status. Read on to learn more about the program and how to engage with Urban Forestry for assistance.
Per the Arbor Day Foundation, schools must fulfill the requirements of the following goals in order to become a Tree Campus:
- Tree Campus Team - Maintain a group with representation from staff, students, and community dedicated to achieving Tree Campus K-12 recognition.
- Education Plan - Conduct activities that connect students to trees and their global benefits, inside or outside of the classroom.
- Hands-On Experience - Engage students in a project that brings the school's tree spirit to the community.
- Arbor Day Observance - Hold a celebration of trees within the school or the community.
View more details about these requirements and how to apply through the Arbor Day Foundation web site.
Urban Forestry is available to assist schools in the Edmond Public Schools district or private schools within Edmond City limits in achieving Tree Campus K-12 recognition. Some ways that we can help include:
- Consulting with schools on the program goals. This may include involvement with the Tree Campus Team, advising on the Education Plan, and providing technical guidance related to tree planting and care of trees on campus, etc.
- Public speaking engagements, giving presentations to students to support the Education Plan.
- Providing opportunities for Hands-On Experience through Urban Forestry's Volunteer Program.
- Providing a tree for the Arbor Day Observance of a school that is actively seeking Tree Campus recognition. Schools must contact Leigh Martin by February 15th in order to request a tree, to be delivered in the spring.
Oklahoma Forestry Services also has a variety of educational resources available to support a school's Education Plan.
Benefits of Trees
Trees provide many benefits for schools, such as:
- Children with access to nature have improved learning outcomes and mental focus.
- Shade from trees on playgrounds protects from skin cancer-causing UV rays.
- Trees cool the surrounding air, alleviating urban heat islands and providing more comfortable conditions for play.
- Trees remove pollutants from the air, improving air quality and reducing instances of respiratory illness.
- Shading and windbreak from trees reduces building energy costs.
- Views of nature reduce stress and provide a greater sense of well-being.
By seeking Tree Campus K-12 recognition, schools can embrace these benefits for their students, get involved in the community, and implement innovative ways of engaging the future stewards of our urban forest.