STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State University faculty, staff and students today [Feb. 9] planted 140 trees to transform the College View Connector walking path in celebration of Arbor Day. The event also marked 70 years of the MSU College of Forest Resources, the state's only nationally accredited education program in natural resources.
"A third of our state is forested, and forestry is a $13.12 billion industry for Mississippi. Educating MSU students about the importance of tree planting and environmental stewardship is paramount for our future forests," said Wes Burger, dean of the College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. "For 12 years, Mississippi State has been designated a Tree Campus Higher Education from the Arbor Day Foundation for our commitment to growing green spaces, which help beautify the community and provide many ecosystem services."
Joshua Granger, assistant forestry professor and chair of the MSU Tree Campus Higher Education Advisory Committee which plans the event, said it is an opportunity to get the MSU community involved in tree planting.
"For me, it's about getting people together to plant trees. For many students and others who participate, this might be the first tree they plant, and they can return to MSU year after year and see that tree grow and thrive. They've left a positive mark on Mississippi State's campus," he said.
This year's project included large hardwoods planted along the College View Connector, a one-mile multi-use path linking campus to Hwy. 182. Cedar trees also were planted further down as a screen. In the coming years, the committee plans to add flowering trees, shrubs and other plants.
The event was made possible through funding from the College of Forest Resources' Dean's Office, Department of Forestry, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Starkville Utilities with the Tennessee Valley Authority, and in-kind donations from Campus Landscape in the Facilities Management Department. Members of the Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, the Waldorf Scholarship recipients and the MSU Tree Campus Higher Education Advisory Committee assisted with the planting.
In addition to this event, the College of Forest Resources held an Arbor Day tree planting at the Partnership Middle School, sponsored by Phi Kappa Phi, where sixth and seventh graders planted trees on school grounds and learned about the value of trees.
National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April across the U.S. In Mississippi and other southern states, Arbor Day is celebrated on the second Friday in February, the ideal time for tree planting in the South.
Mississippi State University is taking care of what matters. Learn more at www.msstate.edu.