Tree Campus K-12 was developed by the Arbor Day Foundation to inspire collaboration between schools, students, and communities to facilitate experiences with trees as a learning tool.
The program encourages schools and educators to create purposeful opportunities for students to interact with trees by offering resources, as well as a framework for becoming recognized and celebrating their efforts with their community.
Schools can receive annual Tree Campus K–12 recognition by meeting four goals. Public or private schools that include any grades from Kindergarten through 12th grade meeting these goals will receive recognition materials to showcase their dedication to connecting their students with trees.
TREE CAMPUS TEAM
Purpose: Unite and Lead
Establish a Tree Campus Team and meet regularly. This team should include diverse representation from students, staff, and school leadership. This team:
- Drives the creation and oversight of the Education Plan, Service Project, and Arbor Day observance.
- Must include at least one student and one educator, and regularly report to a school leader on the team’s goals and progress.
- May include other interested community members, school organizations, or staff who would like to participate.
- The Tree Campus Team may also be a part of another school organization, such as a Green Team.
Purpose: Learn About Trees
Implement an education plan outlining tree-related learning experiences provided to students throughout the school year. The goal of establishing this plan is to provide a roadmap and guidance for the educators, staff, or community partners who may help facilitate these experiences.
This plan should be flexible enough to fit the needs of the school and could include tree-focused classroom curriculum, outdoor activities, or off-campus excursions. This does not have to occur during the school day, and it does not need to include all students in the school.
The Education Plan should include:
- A clearly stated purpose.
- A tree-related learning experience that the school (or individual classroom(s)) will focus on; If there are multiple, list each with a brief description and provide a timeline of implementation.
- The number of students engaged in each experience; list any community members or organizations involved.
Education plan ideas include, but are not limited to:
- A local arborist or forester presenting on the work he or she does in community forestry.
- The Tree Campus Team giving a presentation to other students at their school.
- A local community member teaching students about the proper way to prune trees.
- Students utilizing i-Tree software to understand the benefits of trees on their school property.
- Classroom curriculum related to trees in some way.
Purpose: Experience Trees
The Hands-On Experience should be an outreach of the program’s spirit and should provide students with an opportunity to plant, nurture, or celebrate trees in the community. The goal is to demonstrate the importance of trees in the community through experience. The total number of hours volunteered by students and staff should be noted.
Hands-On Experience ideas include, but are not limited to:
- Volunteer tree inventory with municipal tree program.
- Volunteer tree planting in the community.
- Student-led efforts to have the community designated a Tree City USA community.
- Partnership with state forestry departments on regional projects.
- Volunteering with city or local nonprofit organizations to help distribute trees to community members.
- Planting or caring for trees on the school campus.
ARBOR DAY OBSERVANCE
Purpose: Celebrate Together
An Arbor Day observance provides a golden opportunity to educate the school community on the benefits of the trees on their campus and in the community.
The Arbor Day observance can be held on the school grounds or in conjunction with another local organization or group such as a participant in the Tree City USA, Tree Campus USA, or Tree Line USA programs; a municipal tree program; or a local tree-focused nonprofit group.
Your observance may be held at an appropriate time for the school as long as it is related to trees in some way. A Hands-On Experience may occur in conjunction with the Arbor Day Observance provided that both events meet the outlined criteria.
Evidence — a recording of the date the observance was held with an attachment that includes program activities, news coverage, photos, and/or personal stories — will be required when submitting your application.
To learn more about how to involve a local school where you live, please visit the Tree Campus K-12 website.