TU recognized by Arbor Day Foundation for conservation commitment

By Cody Boteler on August 25, 2020

This is the second consecutive year TU was recognized for its work keeping trees healthy

Glen Woods
The Glen Arboretum on Towson University's campus offers a space of intellectual study, creative inquiry and respite.

For the second year in a row, Towson University was recognized as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation because of the university’s commitment to promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in the spirit of conservation.

“Your entire campus community should be proud of your sustained commitment to environmental stewardship,” Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, says in a letter to Towson University President Kim Schatzel.

“We know that 2020 has brought unprecedented challenges – but you have shown that your commitment to trees is unwavering. Now more than ever, thank you for contributing to a healthier planet for all of us.”

For decades, Towson University has preserved 10 acres of woods in the heart of campus that have been used by students and faculty for scientific exploration, creative inquiry and quiet repose.

The Glen Arboretum was first dedicated in 1936 and is overseen by the Glen Arboretum Board of Directors, and is maintained in part by donations to the Glen’s dedicated operating fund. In addition to its use as a place for scholarship and relaxation, one goal of the Glen is to become a living museum for the approximately 120 species of trees that are native to Maryland.

As of the fall 2017 term, there were more than 100 of those species growing in the Glen. The forest is maintained by volunteers and, sometimes goats that are trucked in to munch away invasive species.

Goats in Glen
Goats munching on invasive species in the Glen.

To earn the distinction as a Tree Campus USA, Towson University met the five core standards for effective campus forest management, which are establishing a tree advisory committee, evidence of a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for the campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance, and the sponsorship of student service learning projects.

Arbor Day at Towson University in 2019 included a tree planting and a ceremony with remarks from campus leaders. Arbor Day was marked April 24, but on-campus observations were altered because of the coronavirus pandemic

A map of “big trees” on campus was published, a guide for anyone on campus to walk around and learn about the most significant trees on campus. Director of the Glen Arboretum James Hull, who is also a professor emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences, says big trees provide a variety of ecological benefits that are essential to human existence.

TU has 13 big trees registered around campus, and several are champions, meaning they’re either the tallest of a given species in Baltimore County or in Maryland.

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland.