On World Environment Day [June 5], Mississippi State is being recognized for the seventh consecutive year as a Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation distinction.
MSU currently is the only university in the Magnolia State with this honor that recognizes commitment to the value and maintenance of trees.
The distinction requires that MSU have a campus tree advisory committee, plan for tree maintenance, allotted maintenance budget, an Arbor Day observance and a community outreach project. This work is showcased through the 10,000 to 15,000 trees found throughout the Starkville campus and is supported through the efforts of faculty, staff, students and the larger community.
"The Tree Campus USA recognition shows the university's commitment to maintaining and enhancing the 10,000-plus trees that adorn Mississippi State. There is an inherent value to the trees around our campus. They provide fresh air, offer shade for vehicles and buildings—which helps reduce energy costs—and help make campus a beautiful place for everyone," said Marc Measells, extension associate in the Department of Forestry.
Joshua Granger, head of MSU's Tree Campus USA committee and assistant professor in the forestry department, also offered his perspective on the intrinsic value of campus trees.
"The recognition is wonderful and appreciated. As a university we're committed to education, and campus trees are a tool for that education, be it through conservation or as inspiration for students who wish to study trees through forestry or natural resource and environmental conservation majors in the College of Forest Resources—or even a visitor just looking to plant something in their own backyard," Granger said.
While the distinction goes to MSU specifically, it's also an achievement shared by the Starkville community. MSU's campus tree advisory committee is comprised of students and other university affiliates including Starkville business owners and private citizens. Granger said volunteers are enthusiastic about helping maintain this status.
"I'm just amazed at how motivated people are to be part of something that involves trees. There's always somebody asking, 'Can I be a part of this?' This honor is a reflection of that enthusiasm across our community," Granger said. "Helping make MSU a Tree Campus USA is a tangible way for people who love Mississippi State to leave a meaningful legacy and impactful mark on the university."