You have probably heard of Arbor Day on many occasions, but have you ever stopped to think about the significance of this tradition or how we observe it on campus? The first official observance in the United States was held on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska; and it is now celebrated nationally on the last Friday in April. However, many states also hold their own observance to coincide with the prime planting dates in their regions, with Georgia holding its Arbor Day on the third Friday in February. Each Arbor Day presents an opportunity to reflect on and recognize the importance of maintaining healthy trees, which provide many benefits including food, oxygen, shade, energy conservation, soil erosion prevention, clean air and water, and many more.
Here at Georgia College, the Grounds Department, the Office of Sustainability, and the Earth Action Team teamed up on February 23 to celebrate Georgia Arbor Day. Five ginkgo trees were planted along the West Campus Entrance. This species was chosen due to the spectacular yellow color that the trees showcase in the fall, which will create a dramatic drive and view from the village apartments. The staff and students who participated were treated to a special demonstration of correct tree planting techniques by Seth Hawkins, certified arborist, community forester, and member of our campus tree committee. By using those techniques, the participants helped to ensure the survival of the five trees. Mr. Hawkins also allowed us to video his explanations, and you can learn how to successfully plant trees by watching Part 1 and Part 2.
Our Georgia Arbor Day celebration not only allows us to reflect on our state tree holiday but also kick off our National Arbor Day celebration. Each year, individuals and organizations on campus are invited to volunteer to plant trees in the weeks leading up to National Arbor Day, which will be held on April 27. We are proud that Georgia College is a Tree Campus USA, and we hope that you will join us in maintaining our tree canopy. Email Aaron Seay, grounds supervisor, or Kristen Hitchcock, Sustainability Coordinator, to schedule your tree planting.