UNC Asheville Again Earns Status as Tree Campus USA and Bee Campus USA

students plant a magnolia tree on campus
July 21, 2021

UNC Asheville has been recognized as a 2020 Tree Campus USA, joining 385 campuses across the United States with this recognition. UNC Asheville has also been certified as a Bee Campus USA, a designation that recognizes educational campuses that commit to a set of practices that support pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, among thousands of other species.

This is the third year the University has been honored for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. UNC Asheville achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA’s five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.

UNC Asheville became the nation’s eighth certified Bee Campus in 2016. There are now 122 Bee Campus USA affiliates across the country. Bee Campus universities commit to establishing a standing committee to advocate for pollinators; create and enhance pollinator habitat on campus by increasing the abundance of native plants and providing nest sites; reduce the use of pesticides; offer courses that incorporate pollinator conservation, offer service-learning projects to enhance pollinator habitat; among other activities. Recent projects include a new garden planted around a bioretention pond on campus, making the space multifunctional as both stormwater control and a pollinator garden that supports wildlife.

“Our continued recognition as a Tree Campus and Bee Campus shows that we truly are dedicated to sustainability as a university,” said Melissa Acker, UNC Asheville’s grounds manager. “You can see it on the grounds and in the classrooms. It’s a collaboration that involves every person on campus.”

That dedication also is reflected in UNC Asheville’s recent signing of the Carbon Commitment, pledging to becoming carbon neutral in just under 30 years. This includes creating a Climate Action Plan (CAP), completing an annual greenhouse emissions inventory and identifying near-term opportunities for greenhouse gas reduction, making carbon neutrality part of the curriculum, and completing an annual evaluation of progress towards the goal.

For more information about sustainability at UNC Asheville, visit https://sustainability.unca.edu/.