Warren Wilson College has been recognized for having a 2013 Best Case Study by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Warren Wilson’s recognition is in the category of Four-Year or Graduate Institution with 10,000 or Fewer Full-Time Students.
Warren Wilson was cited for its Center Campus Tree Inventory and Carbon Sequestration/Storage Analysis, conducted by the college’s landscaping crew in partnership with the N.C. Forest Service. The analysis will guide future management decisions on campus with the goal of improving human health, environmental quality and aesthetic value. See http://bit.ly/1bQ0qOL for a detailed project description.
A total of 9,913 trees were measured and cataloged in the 39-acre landscape tree census and 20-acre forest sample inventory, including 135 different species in the landscape census alone. The trees sequester 62 metric tons of carbon yearly, store 2,195 metric tons of carbon in their wood, and remove 1.57 metric tons of pollution annually. They have a structural replacement value of $11 million.
“Knowing much more about each individual tree on the Warren Wilson center campus promotes better landscape design, and facilitates individual care for each tree,” said Linden Blaisus, a 2011 WWC graduate who supervised the project as a paid intern. “The project has generated an accurate assessment of the carbon sequestration and storage in the center campus urban forest, and I hope it is only the first of many.”
Stan Cross, interim director of Warren Wilson’s Environmental Leadership Center, said the award is significant in several respects.
“This award recognizes our campus' sustainability innovation at the nexus of academics and work, where we do sustainability exceptionally well,” he said.
“Linden and the students on the landscaping crew applied their academic course work in environmental studies, biology, forestry, math and GIS to the practical work of measuring, identifying, analyzing and reporting on the 'carbon value' of the core campus forest. In doing so, he and his team have advanced the national dialogue regarding the importance of urban forests.”
Warren Wilson landscaping crew supervisors Tom LaMuraglia and Renee Fortner were involved in directing the project, and Warren Wilson professors David Abernathy and David Ellum served as consultants.
The AASHE case study award is based on the following criteria:
- Overall impact of the project.
- How innovative the project is.
- Extent to which the case study serves as a model for others.
- Extent to which the case study includes multiple aspects of sustainability.
- Extent to which the case study engages multiple campus stakeholders.
- Clarity and coherence of the writing.