United Tribes Technical College named a “Tree Campus USA”

United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota is the first tribal college in the country to be a “Tree Campus USA” site. The designation came May 6 from three of the nation’s major tree planting organizations involved with the program: the Arbor Day Foundation of Nebraska, the USDA Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters.

“United Tribes really stands out,” said State Forester Larry Kotchman of the North Dakota Forest Service. “The community forest you’ve established on the campus…is a perfect backdrop to highlight educational opportunities here, and they really contribute to a better quality of life for all who live and learn and visit here.”

During the summer of 2015, Community Forestry Specialist Joel Nichols of the North Dakota Forest Service compiled an inventory of the campus tree resources using GPS technology. The college’s 106 acre main campus contains more than 1,278 trees, he found. Many were planted prior to the college’s founding in 1969, when the site was a military post known as Fort Lincoln.

The appraised value of UTTC’s community forest 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 the Arbor Day program was 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, N.D. Dept. 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.

UTTC’s campus trees program is coordinated by Linda Hugelen, an Agroecology Extension Educator with the college’s Land Grant Programs. For more information about the program, she can be reached at lhugelen@uttc.edu.

A video of the dedication ceremony can be viewed here: https://vimeo.com/168268340