Lincoln Regional Center to Host 44th Arbor Day Ceremony

News Release
For Immediate Release: 4/26/2023

Alycia Davis, (531) 249-8079,

Lincoln – On Thursday, April 27 at 2 p.m., the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will plant trees at the Lincoln Regional Center (LRC) to memorialize and honor past employees and community leaders who contributed to mental health treatment.

During this ceremony, the Arbor Day Foundation will present LRC with an official designation as a Tree Campus Healthcare Institution. This will be the second year the LRC has been honored with this award. 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. To receive the designation, the institute must meet five program standards: have an advisory committee, facility tree care plan, community forestry project, a celebration event, and financial investment toward a tree care plan or projects. The LRC is the only psychiatric hospital in the country and the only healthcare organization in the state to receive this honor.

The Arbor Day Foundation is the world's largest membership nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. Its Tree Campus Healthcare program aims to transform community health and wellness and ultimately save lives through the health benefits provided by trees, as well as recognize healthcare institutions that make an impact on wellness through tree planting, education, and community engagement.

“There is a sense of healing and peace that can be found in nature," said Larry Kahl, the Chief Operations Officer for DHHS. “The assurance that spring will arrive after winter and the trees and plants will be reborn. Being surrounded by nature is rejuvenating, inspiring, and provides a sense of belonging which is essential for our overall well-being and mental health."

“Planting trees on a healthcare campus and in communities provides numerous benefits to human health," said Tony Green, the Interim Director of the Division of Behavioral Health at DHHS. “Green spaces and trees offer positive benefits to recovery, mental health, overall well-being, as well as respiratory, physical, and cognitive health. The presence of trees has been linked to lower levels of stress and has a positive effect on mental health."  

The ceremony will be held in the parking lot of Building 10.

Past employees who will be recognized with memorial trees:

  • Ronald L. Jensen
  • Mary Hepburn-O'Shea
  • Aurora Fabella Trabert
  • Sharon Kay Nicklas
  • Bonnie L. Oldham
  • Luanne Sue Jones

The LRC, part of DHHS's Division of Behavioral Health, has organized and held this annual Arbor Day ceremony since 1979, planting trees each year to add to its beautiful campus, which has been an accredited arboretum and an affiliate site with the Nebraska Statewide Arboretum since 1984. The first Arbor Day in Nebraska was in April of 1872 when more than one million trees were planted.

Today, the 107-acre campus has 375 different plant varieties that include evergreens, ornamental trees, shade trees, and shrubs, totaling approximately 3,000 to 4,000 trees. The LRC has more than 30 different varieties of oaks and a substantial collection of viburnum trees, a nature path, and extensive wildlife that promote and foster a peaceful and beautiful environment for care and treatment.​

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