Vincent Lang, Scott Mobley and Christine Le
UCI students Vincent Lang, Scott Mobley and Christine Le (from left) plant one of 50 new trees in Aldrich Park on Friday, Nov. 19, to celebrate the university's designation as a Tree Campus USA. Steve Zylius / University Communications

Ask students anywhere on campus – maybe those sitting against a tree trunk with laptops on their knees – and they’ll say UC Irvine practices excellent arboreal care. On Friday, Nov. 19, that commitment to healthy urban forestry was recognized by Tree Campus USA, a program funded by Toyota and administered by the Arbor Day Foundation.

After a noon ceremony featuring appearances by Chancellor Michael Drake and Peter the Anteater, 50 new trees were planted in Aldrich Park — the oasis of green that forms the center of the campus.

“We’re gratified to receive this honor from the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Richard Demerjian, environmental planning & sustainability director. “UCI takes great pride in its grounds, and it makes our day to hear how much people appreciate the campus environment.”

UCI is one of 74 campuses nationwide to win the a Tree Campus USA designation. Others include Duke University, Cornell University, UC Davis and UC San Francisco.

Chancellor Drake called the trees that shade Aldrich Park an important part of UCI’s legacy and its future, and he thanked the crew of approximately 75 groundskeepers who  maintain the grounds.

To mark the occasion, here’s a by-the-numbers compilation of UCI forest facts.

  • 24,000: Trees campuswide
  • 11,050: Trees and shrubs in Aldrich Park
  • 1995: Year that UCI’s Green & Gold Plan for sustainable landscaping was established to conserve and maximize resources, as well as to increase species and age diversity of plants
  • 120: In feet, estimated height of the tallest tree on campus (Eucalyptus grandis)
  • 100: Estimated age of the oldest tree on campus
  • 53: Varieties of trees in Aldrich Park
  • 16: New tree species that will be added to Aldrich Park through the Nov. 19 volunteer tree planting
  • 16: In acres, size of the botanical garden at the center of campus
  • Immeasurable: Hours spent by students, faculty and staff studying, lounging and sleeping under campus trees