MSU’s Arbor Day event redesigns College View Connector walkway

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Today [Feb. 9], Mississippi State University staff, students, and faculty have planted 140 trees to change the College View Connector walking path in honor of Arbor Day. The occasion also commemorated the 70th anniversary of the MSU College of Forest Resources, the sole nationally accredited natural resources education program in the state.

“A third of our state comprises forests, and forestry contributes $13.12 billion to Mississippi’s economy. Educating MSU students about the importance of tree planting and environmental stewardship is crucial for the future of our forests,” said Wes Burger, dean of the College of Forest Resources and director of the Forest and Wildlife Research Center. “For a dozen years, Mississippi State has been recognized as a Tree Campus Higher Education by the Arbor Day Foundation for our commitment to cultivating green spaces, which enhance the beauty of the community and provide numerous ecosystem services.”

A large crowd of MSU students, faculty and staff with a Tree Campus USA banner at the Arbor Day celebration
Mississippi State students, faculty, and staff commemorate Arbor Day annually as a Tree Campus USA, an Arbor Day Foundation distinction. (Photo by Grace Cockrell)

Joshua Granger, chair of the MSU Tree Campus Higher Education Advisory Committee, which coordinates the event, mentioned that it is an opportunity to engage the MSU community in tree planting.

“For me, the primary goal is to bring people together to plant trees. For many students and others who participate, this may be their first tree-planting experience, and they can come back to MSU year after year to witness the growth and success of that tree. They have made a positive impact on Mississippi State’s campus,” he stated.

This year’s initiative involved the planting of large hardwood trees along the College View Connector, a one-mile multi-use path that connects the campus to Hwy. 182. Additionally, cedar trees were planted further down as a screen. In the future, the committee plans to incorporate flowering trees, shrubs, and other plants.

MSU student holds seedling to be planted
(Photo by Grace Cockrell)

The funding for the event was made possible by the Dean’s Office and Department of Forestry of the College of Forest Resources, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Starkville Utilities in partnership with the Tennessee Valley Authority, as well as in-kind donations from the Campus Landscape in the Facilities Management Department. The planting was conducted with the assistance of members of the Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters, the Waldorf Scholarship recipients, and the MSU Tree Campus Higher Education Advisory Committee.

In addition to this activity, the College of Forest Resources arranged an Arbor Day tree planting at the Partnership Middle School, sponsored by Phi Kappa Phi. Sixth and seventh graders had the opportunity to plant trees on the school premises and learn about the value of trees.

National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April throughout the United States. In Mississippi and other southern states, Arbor Day is commemorated on the second Friday in February, which is the optimal time for tree planting in the South.

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