San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas


Almost 200 people turned out Nov. 30 to help Texas State University become the Arbor Day Foundation’s newest “Tree Campus USA.”

Students, faculty and staff joined with San Marcos residents at the Speck Parking Garage on the west end of campus to plant 71 trees donated by Toyota through the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus USA program.

“I expect this designation will raise our awareness of the urban forest around us and help us appreciate—even more than we already do—the beauty and environmental role of our trees,” said Texas State President Denise Trauth. “We are proud to be among the first campuses in Texas to receive it.”

The trees planted were specifically selected to thrive in Texas State’s soil and climate conditions. The diverse species planted include arroyo sweetwood, Mexican plum, retama, cedar elm, live oak, eastern red cedar, Mexican white oak and Texas redbud. Water-conserving irrigation was also installed, to help the young trees weather ongoing drought-like conditions until they fully establish themselves.

The Texas Forest Service and the Arbor Day Foundation jointly chose Texas State due to the university’s efforts to involve students in planting and caring for trees on campus. The Texas Forest Service is an advocate of the Tree Campus USA program and has made it a priority to recruit more campuses in the state.

“One of the things we like about Tree Campus USA is the opportunity for students to become involved in tree stewardship in the surrounding community,” said Tom Boggus, director and state forester for the Texas Forest Service. “Communities and universities benefit from the connectivity and students develop a sense of the value of trees in the urban landscape.”

The tree planting effort was related to the university’s Common Experience program, which this year focused on the theme of sustainability. One of the Common Experience activities included planting trees on campus, which led to the effort to become a Tree Campus USA.

The goal of the Tree Campus USA program is to honor college campuses and leaders of their surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest 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: Establish a campus tree advisory committee; Provide evidence of a campus tree-care plan; Have dedicated annual expenditures toward the campus tree-care plan; Hold an Arbor Day observance; Organize a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

For more information about Tree Campus USA, visit the Arbor Day Foundation website at or the Texas Forest Service website at

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