The JSU Arbor Day celebration Feb. 25 attracted city officials, citizens and students, who all came to watch President John Beehler plant a bosque elm tree at the International House.
Tree Commissioner Kenny Griffin presented the Johnny Appleseed award to Scott Exum from Alabama Power. Exum donated almost 40,000 trees to Jacksonville over the past year.
Arbor Day is set aside for the appreciation of trees. Alabama Power gave away 5,000 trees to citizens on the square in Jacksonville Feb. 26.
After Boy Scout Troop 19 presented the flag, Beehler approached the podium for welcoming remarks. He thanked the grounds crew and staff for keeping the campus beautiful.
“Without your help we could not have such a beautiful campus with such beautiful trees,” Beehler said.
He then mentioned how blessed residents are to live on a green campus with such a diversity of trees. City Councilwoman Sandra Sudduth spoke on behalf of the city of Jacksonville since Mayor Johnny Smith was unable to attend the ceremony.
Sudduth spoke about the importance of trees. She mentioned that trees clean the air, keep topsoil from eroding, provide oxygen and supply habitats for wildlife.
Sudduth also said trees in the community are vital because they increase property value, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify the streets and cities.
“Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal,” she said.
Xavier DeKarske, from the JSU Earth Club, presented the poem “Spirit of Trees.”
It was started by Jay Sterling Morton of Nebraska in 1872. On the first Arbor Day, over 1 million trees were planted in Nebraska alone.
Kara Morgan Burgess