USF Celebrates Florida Arbor Day

USF celebrates Florida Arbor Day

On Saturday, January 17, 2015, the University of South Florida's Office of Sustainability partnered with the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement to celebrate Florida Arbor Day.

The Office of Sustainability, housed within the Patel College of Global Sustainability, was founded in 2009 to manage USF's climate impact assessment and reporting, in alignment with the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment signed by President Genshaft in 2008.

Armed with 60 student volunteers from USF's 2015 Stampede of Service event, the Office of Sustainability sent volunteer groups across the USF Tampa campus to contribute to a tree mapping project that aims to map and evaluate the eco impact of every tree on USF Tampa campus.

"The purpose of our volunteer project was to celebrate Florida Arbor Day and spread the importance of sustainability," said Lakshmi Arumugam, Program Manager of the Office of Sustainability. "It was a great success! In only two hours, our volunteers mapped more than 250 trees across campus, contributing to USF's plan for a greener campus. This event trained volunteers in tree mapping, a project they can return to for the rest of their lives."

Using the Tampa Tree Map web-based map and database, developed in part by Dr. Shawn Landry, Research Associate Professor and Program Director of USF's Florida Center for Community Design and Research, volunteers met at the recreation building for a crash course in tree mapping before heading out to designated zones across campus to start mapping.

Students surveyed each tree by measuring the tree diameter four and half feet off the ground, entering the information and tree type into the database, and then taking a picture of the tree. The database then provided students with the yearly ecosystem services of each tree including stormwater intercepted, energy conserved, air pollutants removed, carbon dioxide reduced, and the total CO2 stored to date.

"It was very interesting to see how the oxygen output differs in different types of trees," said student volunteer Stephanie Strimbu. "It definitely gives you a new perspective of the environment."

Students interested in surveying USF Tampa trees can check out an iPad at the USF Library and use the Tampa Trees app to get started. Simply create your own user name, step outside, and get tree-mapping!

Click here for more pictures from USF's Florida Arbor Day celebration!