Jacksonville State University’s annual Arbor Day tree planting ceremony was held on Thursday, Feb. 21st in front of the International House.
The event celebrated the achievement of JSU and the city of Jacksonville for their efforts in conservation and support of the environment.
The ceremony was lead by SGA member Jade Wagner. It was attended by JSU students and several members of the community of Jacksonville.
University President Dr. Bill Meehan was also present. “I just received mail today from the Arbor Day foundation, again recognizing JSU as a Tree Campus USA,” Meehan said.
He also took time to express his gratitude and ongoing thanks to the groundskeepers and others who work so diligently to make JSU a beautiful campus.
Jacksonville Mayor Johnny L. Smith also attended the event. He proudly announced that he, along with the members of the Jacksonville
City counsel, had officially designated February 21st as Arbor Day for the city of Jacksonville.
Celia Wigington, a member of the Earth Club, entertained the audience with fun facts about trees. She showed her appreciation for the community’s support for the Arbor Day celebration.
“We should all be proud to be in a place where protecting the earth is so important,” she said.
Along with the celebration, awards were also given out.
The Jacksonville Tree Commission gives out the Johnny Appleseed award to someone in the community who exemplifies the conservationist spirit of Johnny Appleseed. Kenny Griffin, a member of the Tree Commission, gave the award to the Jacksonville High School FFA (Future Farmers of America) and their faculty advisor, Harold Lipscumb, for their work on the Jacksonville tree trail at Henry Farm.
The JSU Writers’ Club again hosted the Arbor Day poetry contest.
Faculty advisor Dr. Douglas O’Keefe announced the winning poem. “Every year, the entries we receive tend to revolve around a certain
theme: this year the theme was the life and death of the tree and the importance of it.”
The winning poem was He was Born Without, written by JSU sophomore Sierra Coleman.
The event also came with its surprises. Unbeknownst to Mayor Smith, the Arbor Day foundation had awarded the city of Jacksonville with their coveted “Growth Award.”
From the Arbor Day Foundation website, “The Tree City USA Growth Award is awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize higher levels of tree care by participating Tree City USA communities.
The Growth Award highlights innovative programs and projects, increased commitment resources for urban forestry, and provides an opportunity to share new ideas and successes across the country.”
Mr. Griffin had the pleasure of presenting the award to the Mayor.
“This award is going in the Mayor’s office,” said Mayor Smith.
“It was a beautiful ceremony,” remarked Coleman. “I’m very proud to attend a University with such a strong dedication to the preservation of our earth.”