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Central Oregon Community College welcomes Bend ‘Tree Campus USA’ designation

(Update: Adding video and comments from sustainability coordinator)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The tree-lined campus of Central Oregon Community College in Bend has been designated by the national Arbor Day Foundation as Oregon’s newest Tree Campus USA.

The college, which sits on just over 200 acres, joins seven other Oregon colleges and universities that have earned the designation. 

There are estimated to be 60 different species of trees on the campus. The campus has four staff people who work on the grounds, tackling those 200 acres, plus three other campuses around the region.

Temporary staff is hired to provide extra help during the spring and summer time. The campus has an annual budget of $11,000 for tree maintenance.

Noelle Bell Copley is the campus's sustainability coordinator, who helped apply for the Tree Campus designation. The cities of Bend, Sisters, Redmond, and Madras are also Tree Cities USA, as well as Sunriver.

"Bend itself is beautiful. Central Oregon is beautiful," Copley said. "We have this campus with these amazing views. I hear from so many people that they walk the trails here."

"We have neighbors walking their dogs and things on lower campus," she added. "Lots of people use this as a recreation, and we have habitat here, like the birds that are pecking above us."

Kristin Ramstad, manager of the Oregon Department of Forestry, Urban and Community Forestry Assistance Program, said COCC met the five minimum requirements all Tree Campus USA schools must satisfy to earn the title. They include:

  • Establishment of a campus tree advisory committee
  • Evidence of a campus tree care plan
  • Verification of the plan’s dedicated annual expenditures
  • Observing Arbor Day
  • Creating a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body

“Their campus tree care plan is very thorough and set to meet the highest standards,” said Ramstad. “They engaged students to inventory their campus trees as well.”

Copley said, “Central Oregon Community College’s forestry and GIS faculty and our grounds department have been committed to this work for many years. We are so glad to recognize them for engaging students and maintaining a beautiful campus.”

“The trees on campus are an important part of the community here by providing habitat, recreation, a place for learning, and honestly, stress relief. I hear from so many students and faculty who enjoy walking and exploring the natural parts of campus any chance they get. We are excited to be part of the Arbor Day network and collaborate with our local community.”

Central Oregon Community College was established in 1949 and most recently had an enrollment of around 11,000.

The other Tree Campus USA institutions in Oregon are:

  • Corban University
  • Eastern Oregon University
  • Oregon State University
  • Portland Community College
  • Portland State University
  • Southern Oregon University
  • Western Oregon University

The Arbor Day Foundation launched the Tree Campus USA program in 2008. Since then, close to 400 universities and colleges nationwide have earned the designation. Learn more about the Tree Campus USA program here.

Article Topic Follows: Environment
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Kelsey McGee

Kelsey McGee is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Kelsey here.

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