William Woods Plans Tree Planting During Alumni Weekend

William Woods University—long known to students and alumni as “The Woods” because of its beautiful, tree-covered campus—plans to add another tree to its forest in honor of Arbor Day and WWU’s designation as a Tree Campus USA.


Saturday, April 16, during Alumni Weekend, representatives of the Missouri Department of Conservation will be on hand to present a Tree Campus USA plaque. This is the first year a college or university in Missouri has received this designation.


The plaque presentation and remarks by WWU President Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett will be at 1 p.m. outside Tucker Dining Hall. This will be followed by the planting of a Wildfire Black Gum tree, which will eventually grow to 30-50 feet. The tree was donated by a parent and certified arborist, Bill Spradley of Trees, Forests and Landscapes Inc. in Kirkwood, Mo.


Representing Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) at the ceremony will be Ann Koenig, urban forester; John Tuttle, unit chief for forestry division, and Nick Kuhn, urban forestry coordinator for the state.


The Tree Campus USA program, established in 2008, is designed to award national recognition to college campuses for promoting healthy forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.


“We are pleased that William Woods has achieved this honor,” Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, WWU president, said. “This is truly an appropriate designation, considering the school’s nickname and the abundance and variety of trees on our campus.”


The Tree Campus USA program is an initiative that sprang from a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota Motor North America, Inc. to foster the development of the next generation of tree stewards.


“Trees are a vital component of the infrastructure in campus landscaping, providing environmental and economical benefits,” John Rosenow, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation, said in his letter to William Woods. “Properly placed trees create a welcoming environment that makes students, administration and alumni want to be a part of the campus.”


To be eligible for Tree Campus USA recognition, schools must meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement:

  • Establish a campus tree advisory committee

  • Evidence of a campus tree-care plan

  • Verification of dedicated expenditures on the campus tree-care plan

  • Involvement in an Arbor Day observance

  • A service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body in sustainable efforts


William Woods University began working toward Tree Campus USA designation in 2009 when Spradley arranged for the donation and planting of more than 50 trees to aid in campus beautification.


Biodiversity and reforestation efforts included the 12th Street entrance to campus, replacing trees damaged by ice storms, planting trees native to Missouri, improving the natural look of the campus lake areas and providing color and wildlife habitat during different seasons.


In addition, a Campus Tree Advisory Committee was formed. The committee is responsible for making recommendations to replace, remove or plant new trees on campus. The committee collaborates with a student organization, Knowing the Woods Club, founded by Spradley’s daughter, Kelcie, to educate campus members and to plan and facilitate Arbor Day celebrations.


In addition to Bill and Kelcie Spradley, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee is composed of Scott Miniea, associate vice president; Mary Ann Beahon, university relations director; Sharon Mather, advisor to Knowing the Woods Club; Mike Dillon, physical plant director; Mary Spratt, biology professor; Ann Koenig, urban forester, Missouri Department of Conservation, Central Missouri Region, and Paul Johnson, forester, Missouri Department of Conservation, Callaway County.