Hershey Medical Center applies for Tree Campus Healthcare Program Recognition

Community members already know the natural beauty of the 552-acre, tree-lined campus of Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine. Now, those trees may receive national recognition.

The campus facilities team will apply to make the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine an inaugural member of the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare Program before year’s end. The program recognizes institutions that make a mission-aligned impact on community wellness through tree education, investment and community engagement.

“Trees help remove pollutants from our air, promote physical activity, improve medical outcomes and create calming spaces,” said Terry Kreiser, director of facilities operations.

Thirteen full-time employees, external certified arborists and a forestry expert help oversee the campus’ tree inventory. They also produce an annual tree assessment. When a tree must be removed, the team relocates it or plants replacements.

Community members joined facilities staff in reforesting a 13-acre portion of campus with 2,400 seedlings last April. “We also spotlight our sustainability efforts at our annual Earth Day celebration,” said Steve Furmanski, facilities grounds manager and director-at-large of the Philadelphia branch of the Professional Grounds Management Society (PGMS).

The campus received a three-year PGMS accreditation in 2017 for demonstrating exemplary standards in grounds management and operations and won Green Star awards for campus beauty and sustainability in 2016 and 2017.

“This program is another unique opportunity where Penn State Health can set an example for others to follow,” Kreiser said.

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