VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University has observed its 10th Arbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA recognition and “steadfast commitment to effective urban forest management,” university officials said in a statement.
VSU traditionally hosts an on-campus Arbor Day Ceremony with speakers, activities, and tree plantings. However, due to the ongoing global pandemic, officials decided to recognize the occasion with a video message from Monica Haynes, superintendent of landscape and grounds at VSU, and a “look at the university’s unwavering commitment to maintain, preserve and protect its trees and eye-catching landscaping.” (Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dl0PFjKXkHs)
“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,” Haynes said.
Haynes thanked every member of the VSU community for helping the university’s grounds maintenance team continue to create a desirable campus for living, learning, working and playing. She credited Kevin Jenkins, City of Valdosta arborist; Dr. Brad Bergstrom, VSU Department of Biology professor; 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.”
Haynes, her landscape and grounds crew, and students from the Honors College planted five new longleaf pine trees near Whitehead Camellia Trail on main campus in late November. She said hopes to plant more new trees in April.
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. Collectively, these institutions of higher education invested more than $29 million in campus forest management last year.
The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization “dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees,” university officials said.
“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.”