On Arbor Day (April 24, 2020), Ohio recognized The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center as one of only two of the nation’s first Tree Campus Healthcare Institutions. The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare program highlights health institutions that make a mission-aligned impact on community wellness through tree education, investment, and community engagement. This program connects inpatient healthcare facilities of all sizes with local community forestry programs to improve human health outcomes, while improving the extent and condition of the community forest. To receive Tree Campus Healthcare recognition, eligible facilities fulfill five program standards throughout the year, including forming an advisory committee, developing a tree care plan, participating in a community forestry project, sponsoring a celebration event or education campaign, and committing to financial investment in tree projects, education events and/or community outreach.
Here are some recent projects that contributed to this recognition:
More than 90,000 Trees Planted as a Result of Medical Center Internet Searching — In spring 2019, three students from The Ohio State University College of Medicine launched the use of Ecosia, a search engine headquartered in Germany, which plants trees in exchange for searches made using its search engine. For fiscal year 2020, this effort resulted in 90,333 trees planted from 2,632,212 campus-wide searches using Ecosia. This search engine has been implemented across more than 20,000 medical center staff devices and is set as the default search engine through Internet Explorer.
More than 750 Trees Planted Along Cannon Drive — As new construction and infrastructure improvements continue along The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Cannon Drive, the organization incorporated the planting of 600 trees in 2016, plus an additional 186 trees in late 2019. Combined, these have helped to create a new green preserve that will have a lasting impact on the campus and community as a whole. The Ohio State University’s President’s and Provost’s Council on Sustainability made this investment to enhance and increase ecosystem services in support of Ohio State’s broader sustainability goals.
Vendor Plants 160 Trees in Fiscal Year 2020 — The medical center’s Supply Chain team has expanded the number and volume of equipment and devices it reprocesses. Not only does this initiative reduce landfill waste and save money, one of the medical center’s reprocessing vendors planted 160 trees on Ohio State's behalf as part of the purchasing agreement.
Maintaining the Medical Center’s Tree Canopy — The medical center’s Landscape Services team monitors the health of the trees across the entire campus. When trees die or become damaged as a result of storms or disease, the team works to replace them within one year. In fiscal year 2020, Landscape Services replaced six trees in the Legacy Park area alone. By replacing these dead and damaged trees on an annual basis, the team helps to sustain and improve the entire campus’ tree canopy over time.