Black Hills State University is proud to have recently achieved the designation of Tree Campus USA® through the Arbor Day Foundation.

Our recognition as a Tree Campus USA shows that we are joining national and regional partners as we continue to take an active role in the care of our campus tree environment. Sustainability is part of the soul of this University. There is a very deep belief system in our students, faculty, and staff at Black Hills State University to protect the environment.

  • Go to the Team Trees website and see how you can help plant 20 million trees around the globe by , with only a donation of $1 per tree
  • Check out Mark Rober, a retired NASA scientist who narrates a YouTube video using drones to plant 20,000,000 trees on how #TeamTrees are planting 20M trees with a drone.

Tree Care Plan

The purpose of our tree care plan is to identify the policies, procedures, and practices that are used in establishing, protecting, maintaining, and removing trees on the Black Hills State University and BHSU-Rapid City campuses. The overall goal is to ensure a safe, attractive, and sustainable campus.

This plan will ensure appropriate tree selection for our location, promote species diversity, identify proper tree planting and maintenance practices across campus by BHSU staff and outside contractors, emphasize tree health and safety, protect campus trees during construction and renovation projects, and encourage campus community members to respect and value the landscape.


BHSU Campus Tree Map

Trees were identified and mapped by students in the summer of 2016 working with Drs. Tara and Justin Ramsey and with GPS assistance from Dr. Abigail Domagall.

Click on a tree to learn more about it! Each tree has been given a unique number identifier, measured diameter at breast height (in centimeters), and assessed a health score numbered 1-5 for structure, foliage, and location. Five is best. See below the map for the health score key.

We will be continuously updating the map to include information on memorials and donated trees, adding pictures, and verifying tree identifications and locations. Each summer, new trees will be added. 

Donors wishing to contribute to our future tree plans please contact University Advancement at 605.642.6385. The suggested minimum donation per tree is $500. We will accept requests for specific tree types or locations. To ensure the lifetime viability of the tree, these requests will be assessed by Facilities Services Grounds Crew leader Eric Hanson.

View Tree Map

Health Score Key: 

Location Risk: 

1. High traffic area, 0-25 feet from road/path

2. Moderate traffic area, 0-25 feet from road/path

3. Low traffic area (with path), and >25 feet from high traffic area 

4. Low traffic area (no path), and >25 feet from high traffic area 

5. Extremely low traffic area Note: “traffic” refers to vehicles or pedestrians. 

Note: Location risk should not be associated with the age or size of the tree, only location. 

Foliage Health: 

1. Almost all leaves (>90%) missing 

2. Almost all leaves (>90%) wilted and/or discolored; and/or most leaves (50-89%) missing 

3. Most leaves (50-89%) are wilted and/or discolored; and/or some leaves (25-49%) missing 

4. Some leaves (<50%) wilted and/or discolored; and/or a few leaves (<25%) missing 

5. Very minor wilting and/or discoloration (<3%) and very few leaves missing (<3%) 

Note: This applies to all leaves currently on the tree. Do not take into account dead branches here. Note: Wilting should not be evaluated on very hot, dry days. Healthy trees can exhibit wilting when under drought stress.  

Structural Health: 

1. Main trunk completely girdled; and/or >50 branches damaged/missing 

2. Many canopy branches (25-49%) severely damaged or dead; and/or tree leaning >15 degrees; and/or evidence of trunk rot; and/or tree unbalanced (branches concentrated on one side) 

3. Some canopy branches (5-24%) damaged or dead; and/or tree leaning <15 degrees; and/or many “suckers” or “water sprouts” 

4. Few branches (<5%) damaged or dead; and/or minor lean; and/or some “suckers” or “water sprouts” 

5. No dead or broken branches; and/or no lean; and/or no evidence of trunk rot; and/or no “suckers” or “water sprouts” 

Pest abbreviations: Bird = Bi