Planting Trees for a More Sustainable and Livable Campus

Increasing the number of trees on the Tampa campus is one of USF's Designed Environment Campus Initiatives. The planting of trees on the campus supports the signing by USF President Judy Genshaft of the American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment in April 2008 and greatly contributes to the reduction of the university's carbon footprint.


More than 3,500 trees have been planted on campus in the last 15 years. Most recently, 50 live oak trees have been planted in areas heavily traveled by our students, faculty and staff: along a new sidewalk west of Martin Luther King Plaza, along the sidewalk from the Natural & Environmental Sciences Building to the Marshall Student Center, and along the walkway from the Administration Building to the Contemporary Art Museum. Trees have been planted behind benches to encourage student gatherings for social and study activities. In a few years these trees will grow in height and width to provide a continuous shaded path.


These 50 trees, which have six-to-eight-inch diameter trunks and are approximately 15 feet in height, are part of the 500 live oaks donated in the past year by K-Bar Growers in Tampa. Live oak trees can reach a height of 65 to 85 feet tall. A long-lived tree with a life measured in centuries, live oaks are the southern symbol of strength and are native to Florida. It is often considered one of the most attractive and charismatic tree species of the southeastern United States.


The reclining branches of this large spreading tree create a canopy of speckled light, providing pedestrians with shade and relief from the heat. There are so many ways in which trees help make our campus more sustainable and livable:


Trees provide shade that reduces energy costs


Trees reduce heat island effects, making our campus cooler, more livable, walkable and bikeable


Trees absorb rainwater that reduces stormwater runoff and the need for stormwater retention


Trees improve air quality by filtering particulate matter, removing CO2 and producing O2


Trees contribute to conservation and stabilization of topsoils by reducing erosion and contribute to topsoil enrichment from decomposition of leaves  


Trees provide a connection with nature, and improve our mental and physical wellbeing. 


If you don't normally walk in the areas mentioned above, we invite you to visit and take a stroll under the trees and enjoy all that they have to offer.


For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. 

- Martin Luther


Facilities Planning & Construction