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Arbor Day Foundation designates Boise State a Tree Campus Higher Education Institution

blue and orange leaf illustration

Boise — or as it is lovingly known by residents “The City of Trees” — just got greener. Thanks to efforts by Boise State students and faculty, the Arbor Day Foundation designated the university a Tree Campus Higher Education Institution.

woman holds shovel in front of newly-planted tree
Mari Rice helps plant new campus tree, Photo by Lainey Rehkemper

This designation is in recognition of work by School of Public Service Lecturer Mari Rice and 30 students in her 300-level Environmental Studies course during the fall 2021 semester.

“My favorite part of working on this project was getting the chance to see all of the hours of tree plotting and research culminate in the final project of the Tree Care Plan,” said interdisciplinary studies senior Katie Dandrea. “It was incredibly gratifying to see the fruits of our labor in one succinct document.”

The project was a collaboration between the students, Campus Landscape Services, the Service-Learning Office, Campus Sustainability, and the Idaho Department of Lands. With this support, Rice and the students surveyed and documented every tree on campus, developed a tree management plan, and published a comprehensive online story map of Boise State’s current trees.

“The tree inventory will help guide tree care on campus, provide sustainability data about the ecosystem services provided by trees on campus, and serve as a tool for the campus community to learn more about the social and ecological benefits of trees,” Rice said.

stduents measures tree with autumn foliage
Student Owen McBride measures tree, photo provided by Mari Rice

At the Boise State Arbor Day Celebration on April 29, 2022, the campus planted three new trees provided by the City of Boise to celebrate the university’s designation.

This project also brings Boise State closer to its sustainability goals and supports Boise’s ongoing City of Trees Challenge to plant 100,000 trees in a decade.

“I love that the faculty and students are learning more about arboriculture through becoming a Tree Campus Higher Education Institution,” said Michael Andrews, Boise forester. “I know that when these students get a chance to plant trees of their own in the future, they will follow one of my favorite mottos: ‘right tree, right place.’”

— By Brianne Phillips