Hug a State Champion Yellowwood Tree on Arbor Day

Apr 23, 2019

CHAMPAIGN, IL – The yellowwood tree in the green space north of Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall will be recognized as a state champion tree on Arbor Day 2019. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received recognition as a Tree Campus USA® by the National Arbor Day Foundation for the fourth straight year, due to its comprehensive management and care of campus trees, and will celebrate the distinction during Arbor Day on Friday, April 26 at noon.big tree

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) initiated the Illinois Big Tree Register in 1962 to appreciate, discover, and record the largest native tree species in the state. The “biggest” tree is determined by a point system based on the sum of three measurements: Circumference (inches) + Total Height (feet) + ¼ Average Crown Width (feet) = Total Score. In spring 2019, the Campus Tree Advisory Committee nominated the university’s yellowwood tree, and it is confirmed as the largest of its species in Illinois. Campus leaders and members of the committee will celebrate the honor at the annual Arbor Day Celebration. Members of the campus community are invited to attend and get their picture taken with the first state champion tree at the university.

The Campus Tree Advisory Committee is charged by the executive director of Facilities & Services (F&S), Dr. Mohamed Attalla, and includes representatives from the Department of Crop Sciences and Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences (ACES); the Department of Landscape Architecture in the College of Fine & Applied Arts; the City of Urbana’s Arbor Division; the Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE); the University of Illinois Arboretum; the Horticulture Club; and F&S.

“I am proud of the work done by the F&S tree crew and grateful that the valuable contributions from the advisory committee have helped us continue our Tree Campus USA designation another year,” Attalla said.


Campus Arbor Day Celebration

Date: Friday, April 26
Noon–1:00 p.m.
At the yellowwood tree, north of Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall (LAR), or the lobby of LAR (in case of rain)
Speakers: Senior Associate Chancellor Mike DeLorenzo and University Landscape Architect Brent Lewis
Award Presentation: F&S Executive Director Dr. Mohamed Attalla will present the state champion tree award to the F&S Grounds department tree crew
Activities: Get your picture taken hugging the state champion yellowwood tree.

During 2018 F&S hired the Davey Tree Expert Company to implement a detailed update to the campus tree inventory, with support from the Carbon Credit Sales Fund–managed in collaboration between F&S and iSEE. The completed inventory calculates the environmental and financial benefits of more than 16,000 trees on campus and is now available at

The university is committed to tree care with certified arborists on staff, yearly investments in new plantings and materials, the rehabilitation of local woodland sites with native species, and the systematic removal of trees plagued by emerald ash borer beetles or overrun by invasive plant species, like honeysuckle. The university recognizes the benefits of trees and their impact providing habitat for diverse species, sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, and having a positive effect on human spirit and behavior. Green spaces such as the Main and South Quads, the Arboretum, and Allerton Park & Retreat Center are just a few examples of outdoor areas that give students and faculty settings to relax, while also inspiring and encouraging learning opportunities aimed at creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for all.

The Illinois Tree Campus plan is available at

The Arbor Day Foundation has helped campuses throughout the country plant thousands of trees, and Tree Campus USA colleges and universities invested more than $48M in campus forest management last year. More information about the program is available at

News Release - Arbor Day 2019 PDF

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