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Arbor Day Celebration Breaks Record – VCU News Center

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Arbor Day Celebration Breaks Record

Leila Ugincius
VCU Communications and Public Relations
(804) 828-2725


Last year, Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated its first Arbor Day by planting a tree on the Harris Hall lawn. This year, the university went bigger, enlisting dozens of volunteers to plant 290 trees at the Rice Center in Charles County.

A $10,000 grant from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education and Toyota made the mass tree-planting event possible. The event was part of VCU’s application for Tree Campus USA status, an Arbor Day Foundation program that the university is on track to complete in December.

“When we initially got the grant, we thought it was going to be for 100 trees,” said Brantley Tyndall, alternative transportation coordinator, Physical Plant Department. “The way we envisioned it, the foundation would just bring us 100 trees and we would plant the ones they picked out.”

Instead, VCU’s Office of Sustainability was charged with selecting and purchasing the trees. Rather than using its budget to buy 100 larger trees, it purchased 290 smaller trees.

“We broke a record for a Tree Campus USA event,” Tyndall said.

Organizers chose the Rice Center because of the limited lawn space on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. As a natural environment, the Rice Center seems perfectly suited to the project. Moreover, the center is conducting a wetlands restoration project on 70 of its acres, and the Arbor Day event could serve as a kick start for that project and a way to get students involved.

About 50 volunteers — from students and staff to community members and representatives from state agencies — helped to plant the trees, which included bald cypresses, sycamores, river birches and red maples.

Speakers included Tom Huff, Ph.D., vice provost for Life Sciences; Edward Crawford, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology; Paul Thrift, superintendent of grounds; Randy Gordon, National Arbor Day Foundation; Luke McCall, Richmond arborist; Melanie Savia, Green Unity; and Daniel Fort, M.D., chairman of the Rice Center Board of Trustees.

Fort spoke about the long-term potential of tree planting. He recommended that students come back in 10 or 20 years to see what the trees would look like then because he had that opportunity at his alma mater, Tyndall said.

“He planted trees, and came back 20 years later and he felt like he had a legacy,” Tyndall said. “It was a really interested thing that I didn’t think about for the students. They’re in their early 20s, and they’re not thinking about the future, but that’s an important message that trees can send that maybe we don’t think about all the time. From the side of sustainability, we’re thinking about greenhouse gases and metrics and all that, but the societal element of it I think is also really important.”


Written by vaphc

May 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Posted in Local, Trees

Tagged with , , , ,

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