UAPB seeks Tree Campus designation

Kevin Harris, an extension agent on urban stormwater for Jefferson County, leads a program on UAPB's application to become Tree Campus USA on Monday at the university's School of Business and Management. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)
Kevin Harris, an extension agent on urban stormwater for Jefferson County, leads a program on UAPB's application to become Tree Campus USA on Monday at the university's School of Business and Management. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

Soon, this Tree City USA could be home to a second higher-learning institution with the designation of Tree Campus.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff recently hosted an Arbor Day celebration at its School of Business and Management. The university is trying to become the first historically Black campus in the state to earn the honor of Tree Campus bestowed by the Arbor Day Foundation. The foundation plants and conserves trees around the world.

"We're taking care of meeting the requirements and entering that information now online, and the online application requires that you complete the application by Dec. 31," said Kevin Harris, an extension agent on urban stormwater for Jefferson County. Harris expects to receive official notification that UAPB has met all the requirements to become a Tree Campus by March.

UAPB will receive a banner and plaque honoring its Tree Campus status afterward.

A campus can receive Tree Campus recognition by meeting five standards:

Establishing a campus tree advisory committee.

Producing evidence of a campus tree care plan.

Verifying the plan's dedicated annual expenditures.

Observing Arbor Day.

Creating a service-learning project to engage the student body.

UAPB had planned to plant a tulip poplar tree outside Henderson-Young Hall, the School of Business and Management location, but a heavy dousing of rain postponed plans for that to a later date.

While national Arbor Day is the last Friday in April, Tree Campus ceremonies can take place any time of the year, Harris said. Southeast Arkansas College became a Tree Campus in October 2022. Other Arkansas campuses to receive the honor include the University of Arkansas at Monticello, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Tech University.

Pine Bluff has also been honored as a Tree City for 10 years by the Arbor Day Foundation, Harris said.

Among the many benefits of trees, according to experts, their roots take up moisture to prevent erosion and trees can cool off a city by 10 degrees in warm weather by increasing a tree canopy.