Cumberland, MD (PRWEB) August 30, 2014
Allegany College of Maryland has earned national designation from the Arbor Day Foundation in recognition of its commitment to trees and promotion of an environment in which they can thrive.
ACM has been granted Tree Campus USA status, which recognizes colleges and universities for promoting healthy trees, increasing the tree canopy and conserving natural resources.
ACM is only the fifth Maryland institution of higher education to be granted this honor and the first community college in the state to achieve it.
“The Tree Campus USA recognition reflects the commitment of the entire ACM community to maintain both a beautiful and sustainable environment in which to live, learn, work and play,” said ACM’s president, Dr. Cynthia Bambara.
“The Tree Campus USA designation allows ACM to set an example for other community colleges while providing valuable opportunities for our students to learn about environmental stewardship.”
The distinction means that ACM has met five standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation to foster stewardship of trees and forests for benefit of the natural and human environment.
ACM students and faculty and staff members as well as members of the larger community are involved in many of the measures that the college has taken toward forest sustainability on its Cumberland campus.
“It has taken a great deal of commitment and effort by a number of people to obtain Tree Campus USA status from the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Dr. Jim Howell, ACM professor of biology and chair of the college’s Tree Care Plan Committee.
“Nationwide, not many two-year schools have received this award, so this puts Allegany College of Maryland into very select company.”
Among the Foundation’s requirements are a Campus Tree Advisory Committee to guide the institution in development of a Campus Tree Care Plan and execution of a Campus Tree Program supported with dedicated expenditures.
Student involvement and learning is another key criterion as is an annual Arbor Day observance that calls attention to the value of trees and the college’s commitment to promoting trees on campus.
Those events, where a guest speaker presents the aesthetic, economic and environmental benefits of trees around our homes and in our communities, have been held each April for the past half-dozen years.
A presidential proclamation dedicating the college to forest stewardship is part of each celebration as is the planting of one or more trees on campus.
ACM forestry instructors and students have a large role in the latter as they demonstrate proper tree-planting technique for the benefit of attendees.
ACM has educated forestry professionals for more than four decades in its forest technology program, and students have long applied their practical skills on campus in ways that benefit its trees.
The first Arbor Day celebration featured the dedication of an arboretum that Howell established in a large, wooded section of the 300-acre campus.
Community members are invited to these yearly events, including members of the Maryland Forest Service and the Cumberland Shade Tree Commission, two organizations that regularly collaborate with the college.
ACM designation in the Tree Campus USA program complements Cumberland’s inclusion in the Foundation’s Tree City USA program and its efforts to increase the urban tree canopy.
“This is something the college and community should be very proud of,” Howell added. “In particular, we owe Becky Wilson (Maryland Forest Service forester and Tree Care Plan Committee member) additional thanks as she helped advise us through the process.”