The University of Southern Mississippi’s annual Arbor Day celebration was held Friday, Feb. 9 on the Gulf Park campus in Long Beach.
The program featured the planting of a Live oak tree on the north side of the Administration Building Plaza and remarks from University representatives delivered outside near the Friendship Oak.
“Arbor Day provides an opportunity for us to celebrate the importance of trees, and here on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the Live oak species can be found in abundance,” said Dr. Steve Miller, Vice President for the Gulf Park Campus. “The majestic Friendship Oak is a symbol of resiliency and strength for our campus, University and community. A number of other beautiful Live oaks can be found across our Gulf Park campus,” Miller added.
Designated as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, the Southern Miss Physical Plant landscape team provides ongoing care and maintenance of all USM trees, landscapes, and grounds.
“We are honored to have earned the Tree Campus USA designation for the seventh year in a row. This recognition is evidence of the good stewardship and care of our campus trees,” said Loren Erickson, USM Superintendent of Campus Landscapes and Certified Arborist.
The University of Southern Mississippi is one of only two universities in Mississippi to earn the Tree Campus USA designation for 2017. According to the Arbor Day Foundation, the Tree Campus USA program recognizes college and university campuses that effectively manage their campus trees; develop connectivity with the community beyond campus borders to foster healthy, urban forests; and strive to engage their student population utilizing service learning opportunities centered on campus, and community, forestry efforts.
Dr. Malcolm Guidry, a consulting arborist on the recent Friendship Oak limb removal and remediation; Kaytlin Dorris, Gulf Park SGA President; and Dr. Casey Maugh Funderburk, Vice Provost for the Gulf Park campus, also provided remarks at the event.
For more information about the Southern Miss Physical Plant, contact Michelle Shinall at firstname.lastname@example.org.