WWU Achieves Tree Campus USA Designation

William Woods University—known to students and alumni as “The Woods”—has been chosen for Tree Campus USA status for 2010. It is the first year a college or university in Missouri has received such designation.


The 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.


Twenty-nine schools were named a Tree Campus USA in 2008, and in three years the number of schools has more than tripled.


“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.


“Trees … especially on campuses, reduce the heat island effect caused by pavement and buildings,” he said. “Leaves filter the air we breathe by removing dust and other particles. Properly placed trees create a welcoming environment that makes students, administration and alumni want to be a part of the campus.”


He added, “We celebrate your diligence in improving the quality of life for the students and administration of William Woods University and thank you for creating a healthier, more sustainable world for us all.”


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 Bill Spradley of Trees, Forests, Landscapes Inc. in Kirkwood, Mo., arranged for the donation and planting of more than 50 trees to aid in campus beautification.


Spradley was moved to make his generous donation in honor of National Arbor Day because his daughter, Kelcie, is a student at William Woods—and, because of the economy, he had overstocked inventory and had time available for the project.


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.


Since that time, Kelcie Spradley formed a student organization called “Knowing The Woods.” The organization focuses on maintaining the natural beauty of the campus through the trees. In 2010, the club observed Arbor Day by planting a tree in memory of Donald J. Dobson, a WWU alumnus and former WWU and Fulton High School teacher and coach. The students also conducted a service-learning project, teaching the children in Fulton Preschool more about trees.


Sharon Mather, WWU advisor for “Knowing The Woods,” said that Kelcie Spradley and the students in the Knowing The Woods Club were the driving force behind the university seeking the Tree Campus USA designation.


“Their enthusiasm and dedication inspired faculty and staff members to join them in partnership to plan events and activities that helped achieve the ‘Tree Campus USA’ status.”


The student organization is forming plans to observe Arbor Day this year and plans to hold an event during Alumni Weekend, April 15-17.



An aerial view of the William Woods University campus, showing some of its many trees.