PCC, a Tree Campus USA recipient eight years running, celebrates Arbor Month

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Treeline at Sylvania

Trees at Sylvania Campus.

Portland Community College is gearing up to celebrate Oregon Arbor Month this April with a special tree planting event at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 25 at its Rock Creek Campus (behind the Aviation hangar). The event serves as a commemoration of the vital role trees play in the health and sustainability of PCC’s campuses and helps honor Governor Tina Kotek’s recent proclamation of April as Arbor Month in Oregon.

With their ability to provide shade, release water vapor, and mitigate cold winds, trees significantly reduce the cooling and heating needs of buildings on campus. Their root systems and canopies also play a crucial role in slowing stormwater runoff, preventing erosion, and filtering harmful chemicals from reaching waterways. Additionally, PCC’s expansive and diverse tree population creates habitats for various wildlife, contributing to biodiversity and ecosystem health while fostering relaxing and enjoyable learning environments for students, faculty, and staff.

“All of these things are critical for our existence and we often take them for granted,” said David Sandrock, landscape faculty and chair of the PCC Tree Campus Committee. “Planting a tree in recognition of Arbor Day honors the contribution that trees make to our lives, inspires and educates participants, and provides a tree and all of its benefits for future generations to enjoy.”

plant giveaway.

Celebrate Earth Week!

Earth Week is April 20-26 and the college is honoring it in style. Join students like Marissa Maag and learn about sustainability-related resources on campus, participate in clothing swaps, get free giveaways, take field trips, join the learning gardens at each campus, learn planting basics, better understand upcycling, and more.

Learn more about Earth Week

Recognizing the importance of preserving and enhancing campus greenery, PCC has been designated as a Tree Campus USA Tree Campus Higher Education recipient by the Arbor Day Foundation for eight consecutive years – longest of any community college in the state. The college’s participation in the Tree Campus Higher Education program signifies its commitment to fostering thriving tree populations across all its locations. PCC meets stringent standards set by the program, including establishing a Campus Tree Advisory Committee, implementing a Campus Tree Care Plan, and organizing annual Arbor Day observances.

The committee meets three times per year and is made up of students, faculty and staff – it is open to anyone who would like to join and participate.

A tree survey in 2019 conducted by PCC documented approximately 3,800 trees across its campuses, with a retail value exceeding $13 million. This tally underscores the significant investment and commitment to maintaining healthy green spaces within the college community. PCC’s ArborScope, an interactive landscape management website developed in partnership with Bartlett Tree Experts, aids in monitoring and managing campus tree populations, ensuring alignment with the college’s Climate Action Plan.

PCC’s efforts in tree conservation and education have not gone unnoticed. The college is one of seven schools in Oregon to earn the Tree Campus Higher Education status to achieve this designation.

Looking ahead, PCC aims to increase its tree canopy coverage from the current 20% to 30%, aligning with the goals set by many cities, including Portland. The college’s Tree Care Plan, developed in 2015 and updated every five years, provides a comprehensive framework for tree selection, planting, management, and preservation across all locations. It also includes provisions for managing trees during construction activities to minimize disruptions and ensure their long-term viability.

“We maintain a PCC Tree Campus plan which lays out a framework for how the college values its trees and landscapes,” Sandrock added. “Jaime English with Planning & Capital Construction is a valuable member of the Tree Campus Committee, and we are currently working with her and others at P&CC to update our tree protection standards. This can have a great impact on how PCC manages trees during construction and is an example of the type of work the Campus Tree Advisory Committee does.”

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, is the Director of Public Relations at Portland Community College. A graduate of Portland State University, James has worked as a section editor for the Newberg Graphic... more »