Georgia Southern celebrates Arbor Day by planting trees on Statesboro Campus
Georgia Southern University biology major Daria Stephens had never used a shovel until the 2021 Arbor Day Celebration on March 5, where she helped plant a tree near the Herty Pines Nature Preserve as part of her botany class. Stephens said the class inspired her to put what she is learning into action.
“I chose to volunteer for Arbor Day because we’ve been learning a lot about plants and trees,” Stephens said. “We just had a test yesterday about trees, and I thought it would be really interesting to learn how to plant a tree.”
Stephens was one of dozens of volunteers who participated in the annual tradition celebrating Georgia Arbor Day with Sustainability Programs. Alicia Lanier, horticulturist and arborist with the University’s Department of Landscape Services, taught attendees the correct way to plant a tree by demonstrating how to cover the root system of a newly planted tree on Sweetheart Circle. Faculty, staff and students worked together during the event to plant a southern live oak, a summer red maple, dogwood seedlings and redwood seedlings near Sweetheart Circle.
Vice President for Student Affairs Shay Little, Ph.D., spoke at the celebration about the importance of planting trees and sustainability at Georgia Southern.
“Trees have special value for us as humans,” Little said. “I see students out here in these trees with hammocks and sitting in the shade all the time. Trees absorb carbon out of the atmosphere, which we know is important for us, and we know this carbon sink is important to our overall sustainability on planet Earth. We need trees.”
Little said she loves all the vegetation on campus, but she didn’t realize the Statesboro Campus has more than 900 species of trees.
“This is a great tradition at Georgia Southern to celebrate our trees and to really take time to encourage students and employees to come out and plant some new trees so that we can continue to be a campus that is really beautiful,” Little said.
Stephens said she is excited about the lasting effect she can have on Georgia Southern by planting one tree.
“I could possibly have kids that come to Georgia Southern, and the tree could still actually be here,” Stephens said. “So if we’re walking around Sweetheart Circle, I could say ‘Your mom, planted that tree.’ That could be really interesting for them to see.”
For more information about Sustainability Programs, visit students.georgiasouthern.edu/LeadServe/sustainability/.