NEBRASKA CITY, Neb., April 11, 2011 /PRNewswire- USNewswire/ -- A record number of colleges and universities received Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation for taking exemplary care of their campus forest. This spring, 115 colleges and universities were awarded Tree Campus USA status. To celebrate the growth of the program, the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota will hold large tree-planting events at four schools across the country this spring.
The first tree-planting event will be held at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, on April 12.
Now in its third year, Tree Campus USA is a program administered by the Arbor Day Foundation that aims to honor colleges and universities that use sustainable practices and engage students in tree-planting and conservation initiatives. Tree Campus USA is supported by a generous grant from Toyota.
In 2010, 115 colleges and universities met Tree Campus USA standards, an increase of 40 from the previous year. Some of the schools honored this year were Duke University, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California at San Diego and Utah State, which received Tree Campus USA recognition for the first time.
"What better way to honor institutions of higher learning that take care of their forests by teaming up with Toyota to plant trees on college campuses," said John Rosenow, chief executive and founder of the Arbor Day Foundation. "When a college or university takes care of its campus forest, their local communities benefit from cleaner air, decreased usage in energy and added beauty. It's also important to teach students how important it is to take care of our urban forests."
Tree-planting events also will be held at Morgan State University in Baltimore; the University of Nevada Las Vegas; and Hennepin Technical College in Brooklyn Park, Minn.
"Toyota has been a partner of the Arbor Day Foundation since 2001," said Patricia Pineda, group vice president of Toyota Motor North America. "We are very proud of the positive impact Tree Campus USA is having on college campuses all across America."
Tree Campus USA was created in 2008 to honor college campuses and the leaders of their surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forestry management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship.
To earn Tree Campus USA recognition, a school must meet five core standards of tree care and community engagement. Those standards are: establish a campus tree advisory committee; provide evidence of a campus tree-care plan; have dedicated annual expenditures for the campus tree-care plan; hold an Arbor Day observance; and organize a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.
This is the third school year the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota have teamed up to plant trees on college campuses. Tree Campus USA tree-planting events will have planted more than 2,300 trees at 32 different colleges and universities through this partnership.
About the Arbor Day Foundation: The Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit conservation organization of more than 1 million members, with a mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information on the Foundation and its programs can be found at arborday.org.
About Toyota: Toyota (NYSE: TM) established operations in the United States in 1957 and currently operates 10 manufacturing plants, including one under construction. Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion, including sales and manufacturing operations, research and development, financial services and design.
Toyota is committed to being a good corporate citizen in the communities where it does business and believes in supporting programs with long-term sustainable results. Toyota supports numerous organizations across the country, focusing on education, the environment and safety. Since 1991, Toyota has contributed more than $500 million to philanthropic programs in the U.S.
For more information on Toyota's commitment to improving communities nationwide, visit http://www.toyota.com/philanthropy.
SOURCE Arbor Day Foundation