Urban Forestry Sustainability and Management Audit

Agnes Scott College’s urban forest has been recognized as a very important asset to the college. It supports both the college’s core mission and sustainability goals, as well as contributing to its widely recognized aesthetic appeal.

In order to ensure that the college derives maximum benefit from its efforts to care for its trees, the Agnes Scott Arboretum Advisory Committee requested that the U.S. Forest Service partner with the college on an audit of every aspect of the campus urban forest’s management, from policies to budget to program execution. This process also allowed the U.S. Forest Service to test an Urban Forestry Sustainability and Management audit system (process and program audit worksheet) to be employed by other college campuses and local government urban forestry programs across the United States.

Auditing is a systematic and independent examination of data, statements, records, operations and performance of an organization for a stated purpose. The team collects and evaluates evidence related to the stated purpose of the audit, and communicates the evaluation through an audit report. This audit was conducted over a eight-month period (January-August 2014) in several phases: discovery, initial discussion, green asset evaluation, interviews, final discussion, and presentation of the audit report to the college’s leadership.

Key findings of this audit show that Agnes Scott’s urban forest is home to significant green assets, which provide many benefits to the college, from ecosystem services to aesthetic appeal, and that these assets have been under systematic care based upon the recommendations of a qualified certified arborist. The team commends the college especially in the areas of professional capacity, best management practices, and community relationships.

The audit also makes several specific recommendations to Agnes Scott for improvements in the areas of record-keeping and program documentation; policies and guidance systems; and funding.

The members of the audit team are listed immediately below. The Agnes Scott Arboretum and College are deeply grateful for their hard work.

  • Ed Macie, Audit Team Lead, Regional Urban Forester, USFS Southern Region
  • Dudley Hartel, Audit Staff, Consulting Arborist, Agnes Scott College
  • Jim Abbot, Chair, Agnes Scott Arboretum Advisory Committee
  • Susan Kidd, Director, Agnes Scott College Office of Sustainability
  • Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director, Trees Atlanta
  • Lock Rogers, Assistant Professor, Agnes Scott College Department of Biology
  • David Williams, Part-Time Professor, Agnes Scott College Department of Economics
  • Claudia Mitchell, Intern, U.S. Forest Service/ Agnes Scott Office of Sustainability
  • Kimberly Reeves, Sustainability Program Manager, U. of Colorado-Colorado Springs