Watch 2019 Viva Volunteers celebrate Texas Arbor Day by planting red oaks at the VCB [Visitor Center and University Bookstore] entrance!
Facilities Management and the Office of Sustainability work across campus to improve the livability of our landscapes. A healthy environment contributes to our students’ success and provides a welcoming environment in our community. You can view a working collection of flora and fauna on campus on iNaturalist.
As part of the Campus Landscape Enhancement Project, an Urban Forest (PDF [Portable Document Format File] ) was established along University Drive. The forest is a densely planted area, reminiscent of a Texas creek bed. More than 5,000 trees and shrubs were planted, many of them native to Texas. The varieties include Afghan Pines, Bur Oaks, Caddo Maples, Cedar Elms, Chinquapin Oaks, Magnolias, Pond Cypress and Shumard Oaks. The Urban Forest is set in a natural riparian corridor running through campus.
Cottonwood Creek also runs through campus. The West Fork of Cottonwood Creek runs along the west side of campus, through University Village. It ultimately joins other waterways at White Rock Lake, part of the Trinity River watershed.
Tree Campus Higher Education
With more than 6,700 trees on campus, and as the recipient of $50 million dollars for landscape enhancement, The University of Texas at Dallas is committed to maintaining our fabulous landscapes. To demonstrate that commitment, the University has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus Higher Education®, a program that helps campuses establish and maintain healthy community forests.
To maintain that certification, UT Dallas has established a Tree Advisory Committee, a standing sub-committee of the Campus Sustainability Committee. A Tree Care Plan has been developed and implemented by Facilities Management. Tree Planting events take place annually on campus. Service learning events are hosted by the Office of Student Volunteerism, both on campus and with community partners.
The UT Dallas Tree Campus Higher Education® program began in 2016. As part of existing tree management practices, a publicly accessible campus map and tree inventory has been made available online for students, staff, and faculty to view. For any questions regarding this viewer, please feel free to contact us.
Monarch Waystation / Blackland Prairie Habitat Restoration
UT Dallas sits in Texas’ Blackland Prairie. The Blackland Prairie region is a strip of dark, rich soil encompassing much of Dallas and following the I-35 corridor. It’s known for its black, fertile soil which is very suitable for farming and grazing. The soil was so desirable that the Blackland Prairie is now one of the most endangered ecoregions in the United States with less than 1% of original prairie remaining. Facilities Management has established a No-Mow Zone to encourage native prairie grasses to grow and give plants an opportunity to reestablish. Mowing less and planting native species are a key part of our prairie restoration program. An eight-acre area on the southwest corner of campus is the home of the restoration and our largest Monarch Waystation. Native pollinators, like Monarch butterflies, Bumblebees, Mason Bees, and Honey Bees, are crucial to the proliferation of many flowering and fruit producing plants.
The Monarch Watch is a nonprofit managed by The University of Kansas. UT Dallas is located in the migratory path of the Monarch Butterfly. To encourage species recovery, we have planted native milkweed to serve as a breeding ground, and wildflowers to support all pollinators in their search for food. Through the Office of Student Volunteerism, students can participate in planting and maintaining the Monarch Waystation and Blackland Prairie Restoration.
The UT Dallas restored pocket prairie, established in 2023, is another representation of the Blackland Prairie ecoregion on campus. This restoration project is a living, breathing ecosystem supporting native pollinators and other wildlife, as well as serving as an educational ambassador for the preservation and restoration of the Blackland Prairie. You can see live updates of the flora and fauna observed at the prairie on iNaturalist.
The UT Dallas Community Garden program provides Comets with the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of natural gardening and community greening. The garden was established in 2006 with an idea from the McDermott Scholars program and a grant from the UT Dallas Alumni Development Fund. Students, staff, faculty and alumni are all invited to host garden plots. Participants should contact the Office of Student Volunteerism to inquire about joining the Community Garden.
ArbNet Arboretum Level I Certification
Since 2021, UT Dallas has been awarded a Level I Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum for achieving particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. The ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program is the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta at various levels of development, capacity, and professionalism. UT Dallas is also now recognized as an accredited arboretum in the Morton Register of Arboreta, a database of the world’s arboreta and gardens dedicated to woody plants.