This past Friday, the Office of Sustainability and Facilities Services began March by celebrating Tennessee Arbor Day. This was the 4th annual celebration of Arbor Day, culminating in over 700 trees planted with over 250 volunteers. These events have been funded through the Green Fee and developed by the Facilities Services Arboricultural team.
This year’s event continued to add to those numbers marking the most successful Arbor Day celebration to date. Despite the rain, over 60 volunteers came out to Morgan Hall, where they heard from several speakers on the importance, and vital role trees play in our community.
Jason Cottrell, Assistant Director for Landscape Services in Facilities Services, started the ceremony off by speaking on the history of Arbor Day, and thanking the crowd for attending despite the rain. Jason then introduced Dave Irvin, Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services, who spoke on how Arbor Day has played into UT’s infrastructure, mission, and long term campus goals. Trees not only help beautify our campus, but reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Also in attendance was Caula Beyl, the Dean of the Herbert College.
Tom Welborn from Trees Knoxville then spoke on the rich history the university has in the arboriculture program. Welborn is the Chair of Trees Knoxville, whose mission is to “preserve and increase the urban tree canopy on the private and public land of Knoxville and Knox County”. Tom is a UT Graduate from 1970, and said without his basis of his UT Forestry Program education, he would not hold the position he has now.
The ceremony concluded with the official renewal of UT becoming a Tree Campus institution for the second year. Last April was the university’s first year as a Tree Campus, and by continuing to uphold the five standards we were able to show our dedication to trees and remain a Tree Campus school.
Finally, the over 60 student volunteers planted trees around Morgan Hall and Sorority Village. The additional 120 trees will add to the existing 8600 plus trees the Arboricultural team manages.
Students looking to get involved with sustainability on campus are encouraged to visit our Earth month webpage, which lists numerous upcoming events in April. In March, they can attend Committee on the Campus Environment Meeting, Student Green Fee meeting, and finally the Green Power Purchasing Forum; all of which are open to the public.