Thompson Rivers University

Tree program bolsters Coolest School status

  Posted on: September 24, 2021

Elder Doe Thomas and TRU Vice-President Administration and Finance Matt Milovick bless the ground at the launch of the Campus Tree Program.

Shovels dug deep into the dirt and 10 celebration maples were planted around the Chappell Family Building for Nursing and Population Health to mark the launch of TRU’s Campus Tree Program while also highlighting the 10th National Tree Day.

James Gordon, manager of sustainability programs, said the program was one of the initiatives noted by the Sierra Club, which recently released its top-20 Coolest Schools in North America. TRU came third this year, and was ranked the highest of the three Canadian universities that made the top-20 list. In 2019, TRU was the No. 1 Coolest School.

“In addition to major projects we’ve initiated in recent years, we have launched programs for tree-planting and reusable cutlery. These might seem like small measures, but they tell our community that everyone can take steps to make a difference,” said Gordon.

“This summer, we have experienced first-hand the effects of climate change and we deeply understand the need to take action. TRU continues to strive to reduce our environmental impact while being a place where solutions can be found,” said TRU President Brett Fairbairn.

The Campus Tree Program is supported by the Sustainability Office, Horticulture department and Grounds Maintenance department. Gordon is sharing information about it with other Canadian universities to inspire them to follow suit. The tree-planting launch took place on Sept. 22. It’s a one-year pilot that relies on teams of volunteers to plant, nurture and care for trees across campus.

University staff or contractors provide help and supervision to the volunteers, who can be staff, students, faculty, alumni or TRU supporters. Volunteers work in teams of three while learning from grounds/horticulture personnel about tree planting, care and preservation. They receive a program certificate of completion and a ball cap.

The program could lead to academic and research opportunities and it contributes to the Canadian government’s goal of planting two billion trees by 2030.