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VHCC Once Again Named Tree Campus USA
Virginia Highlands Community College has once again been named a Tree Campus USA for its ongoing efforts to manage an urban forest and involve students in conservation efforts.
The College last year became Virginia’s first community college to earn this prestigious designation from the Arbor Day Foundation by meeting five standards that demonstrate a commitment to trees.
To keep the designation for the second straight year, the College had to maintain a tree advisory board, retain a tree-care plan, dedicate annual resources to campus trees, hold an annual observance of Arbor Day, and create a serving-learning project for students during 2017.
Horticulture Instructor Ben Casteel oversees Tree Campus USA efforts at VHCC and said the ultimate goal of the program is to involve students in creating a healthier planet that can be enjoyed by everyone. To achieve this goal, he has worked closely with the College’s Tree Advisory Committee - which consists of both campus and community members - to identify 125 species of trees that are suitable for planting on the 100-acre campus. Students and volunteers are actively involved in this effort.
“To plant a tree knowing that we may never enjoy it’s shade or fruit is to believe in tomorrow,” Casteel said.
VHCC is one of only six Tree Campus USA locations in Virginia and one of 344 nationwide.