United Tribes Technical College to Be Recognized as “Tree Campus USA”Apr 6th, 2016 | By dneumann | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive
United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) will receive the designation as a “Tree Campus USA” from the Arbor Day Foundation. UTTC, along with Blackfeet Community College in Browning, Montana, are the first tribal colleges in the nation to meet the standards for two and four-year accredited colleges and universities to develop and promote healthy trees and student involvement on their respective campuses. The distinction will be conferred on May 6, North Dakota’s Arbor Day.
In addition to receiving the Tree Campus USA designation, the event will includes tribal protocols and a ceremonial tree planting that continues a longstanding tradition of recognizing graduates of the college’s Nutrition and Food Service Program. Guest speakers include UTTC president Russ McDonald, Standing Rock/Dakota wisdom keeper Mary Louise Defender Wilson, North Dakota state forester Larry Kotchman, and U.S. Forest Service deputy director for state and private forestry John T. Shannon. Youngsters from grades four and five of Theodore Jamerson Elementary School on the UTTC campus will attend, along with tribal leaders on the college’s governing board and other dignitaries. A reception follows in the Skill Center and tree seedlings will be available free for those attending.
UTTC’s campus trees program is coordinated by Linda Hugelen, an Agroecology Extension educator with the college’s Land Grant programs. “We’ve had some expert help from good partners,” says Hugelen. During the summer of 2015, Community Forestry Specialist Joel Nichols of the North Dakota Forest Service compiled an inventory and assessment of the campus tree resources using GPS technology. The college’s 106 acre main campus contains more than 1,278 trees. Many were planted prior to the college’s founding in 1969, when the site was a former military post known as Fort Lincoln.
“As expected, the older trees are in decline,” says Hugelen. “Our plan brings more resources into the ongoing maintenance and replacement that we’ve had for many years, and builds on more recent work in our educational programs related to food production from trees.”
The appraised value of UTTC’s community forest resource is $4.5 million. Included are trees planted for landscape, ceremonial, commemorative, and beautification purposes. In 2011, the college established a fruit orchard in its Dragonfly Garden. The tree planting location for this Arbor Day program is a fruit tree grove that serves in the college’s nutrition and food service educational program.
UTTC has received funding and technical support from a number of government agencies and private sector organizations, including the North Dakota Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, USDA NRCS Plant Materials Center, Lincoln-Oakes Nursery, the North Dakota Association of Soil Conservation Districts, NDSU Extension Service, the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, Dreyer’s/Edy’s Fruit Bars, Communities Take Root, Fourth Grade Foresters of North Dakota, and, now, the Arbor Day Foundation. “We’re very grateful for all the assistance and support we’ve received,” says Hugelen. “We plan to continue submitting proposals and enhancing this resource.”