By Breanna Williams, Staff Writer—
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has been named a “Tree Campus USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation for the tenth year in a row.
However, in stark contrast the university has also recently cut down some if its trees between Fletcher and the UTC Library. These trees on campus have been examined to determine their life expectancy.
According to Danny West, UTC’s Construction Services Manager, the trees were “evaluated by three different arborists who determined they had 5-10 years life expectancy as they were showing signs of distress because of how they were planted.”
The trees also posed some safety threats.
“The root system was unable to properly develop and could easily be blown over. In addition, the roots were causing the concrete to buckle which created a tripping hazard,” West explained.
The trees had to be removed because that was the main and only option. “The designers and contractors did not see a way to remove the concrete without damaging the trees further,” West noted.
Fortunately, new trees will soon be planted in place of the ones removed.
“[The] replacement trees will have a much better area for their roots to thrive in,” West said.
UTC takes pride in its healthy, flourishing trees. In fact, UTC’s 120 acre campus contains nearly 2000 trees and plants with over 60 different species.
UTC has also met The Arbor Day Foundation’s criteria for planting, nurturing, and celebrating trees.
According to Steven Rumbaugh, UTC’s Creative Services Director, “The Arbor Day Foundation honors us for ‘promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.’”
The Arbor Day Foundation maintains five standards for honoring and recognizing UTC.
“These standards include the establishment of a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, a dedicated annual budget for the campus tree program, our observance of
Arbor Day (April 26th this year) and the sponsorship of student service-learning projects,” Rumbaugh explained.
UTC has a master plan for the campus. It demonstrates and outlines “the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability, landscape, and environmental partnerships with the city,” Rumbaugh noted.
This is a distinguishing achievement for UTC and specifically sets this campus apart from the others in the UT system and in the state of Tennessee.
“For the past ten years, our school has earned this designation and we are the only campus in the UT System.”