USF celebrated Arbor Day 2021 by planting new trees around Castor Beach on the Tampa campus. This included a magnolia, five live oaks, three crape myrtles, and four palm trees. The celebration was made possible by a partnership with TECO, who worked with a local nursery to provide trees to the campus.
USF’s tree planting effort on the Tampa campus started in 2016 with a grant from the Student Green Energy Fund. This grant allowed USF to begin the first phase in a multiphase approach to increasing tree cover around campus and providing shade to pedestrian walkways. Now on its third phase, the project has planted over 1,000 trees across the Tampa campus ranging from shade trees like live oak, red maple, and river birch as well as ornamental flowering trees like crape myrtle, orchid tree, and tabebuia. The tree planting project is one of the reasons USF has continued to be recognized as a Tree Campus by the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education program.
USF has held this recognition since 2011 and is one of only a handful of schools in Florida to be recognized. The Tree Campus Higher Education program recognizes two- and four-year accredited colleges and universities that meet five standards developed to promote healthy trees and student involvement. These standards are as follows:
- Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee
- Evidence of a Campus Tree Care Plan
- Dedicated Annual Expenditures
- Involvement in an Arbor Day Observance
- Instituting a Service Learning Project
Currently, the USF Tampa campus has over 19,000 trees, which provides an estimated annual benefit of 1.8 million dollars. These benefits include over $400,000 in energy conserved, over one million dollars in storm water filtered, and over $380,000 in carbon dioxide removed. USF's Saint Petersburg campus also celebrated Arbor Day as students began the process of mapping trees across their waterfront campus.
Tree planting on the Tampa Campus