February 9, 2018

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Celebrates Sixth Tree Campus USA Recognition with Arbor Day Ceremony

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s unwavering commitment to effective urban forest management has resulted in a sixth Tree Campus USA recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation.

VSU will commemorate the occasion with an Arbor Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, at the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Center for Applied Creativity and Innovation, located in Martin Hall at the intersection of Patterson Street and Jane Street. Faculty, staff, students, alumni, retirees, and friends of the university are invited to attend.

The Arbor Day Ceremony will begin with a tour of the STEAM Center for Applied Creativity and Innovation and demonstrations of how trees are involved in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Next, attendees will have an opportunity to hear what it takes to achieve the Tree Campus USA designation, as well as learn more about the work behind maintaining VSU’s urban forest and why those efforts are important to the university.  

“Each year it takes the combined effort and support of the entire campus community and the surrounding City of Valdosta to make sure VSU’s urban forest is preserved and enhanced,” shared Monica Haynes, superintendent of Landscape and Grounds at VSU.

Haynes thanked every member of Blazer Nation for helping the university’s grounds maintenance team “maintain, preserve, and protect the trees and landscaping” and credited Kevin Jenkins, City of Valdosta arborist; Dr. Emily Cantonwine, VSU Department of Biology professor, and her horticulture students; Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president; and the Campus Beautification and Stewardship Committee with providing “all of the support in making sure VSU can continue to receive the Tree Campus USA designation.”

VSU’s Arbor Day Ceremony is part of a weeklong community-wide celebration that includes: 

• A book giveaway at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Library, located at 300 Woodrow Wilson Drive.

• An Arbor Week proclamation at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 12, at Valdosta City Hall, located at 216 E. Central Ave.

• Free tree seedlings from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the City of Valdosta Engineering Department, located in the City Hall Annex at 300 N. Lee St.

• A free educational class on proper pruning and common landscape ornamentals from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, located at 4089 Val Tech Road, Building 500 Brooks Hall.

• A free educational class on planting citrus in South Georgia from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, in the City Hall Annex Multi-Purpose Room, located at 300 N. Lee St.

• A tree planting to honor Larry Hanson, former Valdosta city manager, at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, at the City Hall Annex, located at 300 N. Lee St.

• The City of Valdosta Arbor Day Ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Women’s Building, located at 1409 N. Patterson St.

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and to engage college and university community members in conservation goals. There are currently 344 institutions of higher education across the United States with this recognition. Collectively they invested more than $48 million in campus forest management last year.

“Students are eager to volunteer in their communities and become better stewards of the environment,” said Matt Harris, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Participating in Tree Campus USA sets a fine example for other colleges and universities, while helping to create a healthier planet for us all.”

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

VSU’s Department of Landscape and Grounds is committed to providing the campus community with the highest quality service in the areas of horticulture, landscape maintenance, landscape construction, irrigation, and trash compaction. Each grounds maintenance team member takes pride in his or her efforts to maintain the distinctive beauty of the campus and how that supports university-wide recruitment and retention efforts.    

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