Westminster Choir College has a long tradition of successful student-led initiatives that have always reflected on the mission of the campus. Now, Westminster is gaining recognition in another area: campus landscape.
In May 2013, Westminster Choir College became a certified member of Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, a program that recognizes and honors higher educational institutions for successful campus landscape management and engaging students, faculty and staff in proper conservation habits and goals.
To qualify as a Tree Campus USA member, colleges and universities must meet five standards: have a campus tree advisory committee, have a tree care plan, have a program with annual expenditures, observe Arbor Day and have service learning projects.
“Two years ago, when we were seeking the Tree Campus USA certification, we started to do an Arbor Day observance,” says Melissa Greenberg, sustainability manager. “We began to plant trees each year and then dedicated them.”
In the three years Westminster has been preparing for the certification, a new tree was planted each Arbor Day. Two trees were planted on the Lawrenceville campus as well.
Over the past couple of years, Westminster Choir College has been expanding its campus to make room for more academic buildings and performance areas. Though the construction led to trees being removed from the area, the college has installed a plan to replace the fallen trees.
“There is a plan to replace trees that had to come down because of construction or anything else that might happen in the future,” Greenberg says.
During the construction, 26 trees were taken down to accommodate the blueprint of the new Marion Buckelew Cullen Center building. In their place, 69 new trees and 24 new shrubs are being planted to replenish the campus forestry. Some of the trees were replanted while other trees were spread throughout the campus, according to Greenberg.
With a budding campus landscape, a respected cast of performing students and now a Tree Campus USA certification, Westminster Choir College is hitting all the right notes.