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A Tree Grows in Carrollton: Tanner Earns ‘Tree Campus Healthcare’ Designation from Arbor Day Foundation

From the majestic water oaks along Dixie Street — selected and planted at the direction of Southwire Company founder and first Tanner board chair Roy Richards Sr. — to the shaded mile-and-a-half of walking trails that cover its Carrollton campus, Tanner Health System takes trees seriously.

Now, the organization has received national recognition for its greenspace-oriented Carrollton campus.Water oaks in front of hospital along Dixie Street

The Arbor Day Foundation has designated Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton a Tree Campus Healthcare facility.

The two-year-old program aims to transform community health and wellness — and ultimately save lives — through the health benefits provided by trees. The Arbor Day Foundation is recognizing healthcare institutions that make an impact on wellness through tree planting, education and community engagement.

To receive Tree Campus Healthcare recognition, Tanner Medical Center/Carrollton met five program standards: having a facility tree care plan; hosting a celebration event; maintaining an advisory committee; implementing a community forestry project; and making a financial investment toward a tree care plan or projects.

Tanner was among 24 hospitals to receive recognition for 2020, and the only facility in Georgia to earn the recognition. Other facilities included Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, Washington, the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, the Notre Dame Health Care Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, and the UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

“Trees are vital to a healthy community,” said Loy Howard, president and CEO of Tanner. “They shade us, they clean our air, they give us reason to get outside and enjoy nature. And for us, they’re part of our legacy and the legacy we’re leaving for our children and grandchildren.”

Tanner’s investment in greenspace and maintaining its canopy is often enjoyed by area residents who visit the hospital not because they’re sick, but because they want to enjoy the walking trails, park-like scenery and Carrollton GreenBelt access.

Tanner Tree Committee with banner“We call our campus a ‘destination for health,’ because this isn’t just a place to go when you’re sick, but a place you go to stay well,” Howard said. “It’s a commitment to our community to provide a safe, beautiful place to stay active.”

The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare strives to improve human health outcomes by connecting inpatient healthcare facilities of all sizes with local community forestry programs while improving the extent and condition of the community forest. Facilities in the U.S. delivering inpatient healthcare services are eligible for Tree Campus Healthcare recognition, including hospitals, senior care and other residential rehabilitation properties.

According to the foundation, trees have a positive impact not only on the environment — cleaning air and helping to lower surrounding temperatures — but also in helping improve mental health, reducing crime and promoting physical activity.

“Tree Campus Healthcare celebrates the efforts of healthcare facilities creating a healthier and greener property,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees can play an important role in patient recovery and overall community wellness. This designation is a sign of healthcare facilities’ commitment to the connections between nature and health.”

More on the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Healthcare program and the benefits of a well-canopied campus can be found at arborday.org.