Tag: Arbor Day 2017

Red, white and green: JSU’s annual Arbor Day event promotes tree-friendly campus

SGA President Jesslan Sharp helps plant the Nuttal oak tree during the 2017 Arbor Day celebration on February 16. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Katie Cline, Editor-in-Chief

Jacksonville State University celebrated Arbor Day on Thursday, February 16 with a ceremony on the Meehan Hall lawn.

JSU was named a Tree City USA Tree Campus in 2012, and the university has held an annual event each year to reaffirm its commitment to a beautiful campus and a healthy environment.

“Arbor Day means many things to many people, and as I thought about what to discuss, I chose the importance of trees in our lives as human beings,” said Dr. Ashok Roy, who spoke at the event. Roy is the Vice President of Finance and Administration at JSU.

“I remember that when my two wonderful daughters were born, I planted pine saplings in our yard. Moreover, as I watched my daughters grow and work through the challenges of life, I observed the pines doing the same thing. I saw the parallels: Trees [are] symbolic of the human connection. Trees are beneficial to our existence, and trees transcend the notion of time.”

In turn, a Nuttall oak tree was planted during the ceremony.

Dr. Robert Carter is surprised by his Johnny Appleseed Award at the 217 Arbor Day event. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Dr. Robert Carter of JSU’s biology department was presented with the Johnny Appleseed Award by the Tree Commission for his outstanding leadership and work in promoting the education and protection of trees in the Jacksonville community. Carter is a plant ecologist whose work includes large scale ecological effects of humans on plants and tick-borne disease research. He is also heavily involved with Boy Scout Troop 19 of Jacksonville.


Arbor Day began in Nebraska in 1872 as the result of the efforts of the journalist Sterling Morton. Morton was the editor of the “Nebraska City News” and advocated for the planting of trees through his articles and editorials. He was later named the Secretary of Agriculture by President Grover Cleveland.

The first Arbor Day was held on April 10, 1872, and the Arbor Day Foundation states that over a million trees were planted that day. The event became a legal holiday in Nebraska in 1875, and April 22—Morton’s birthday—was the chosen date of observance.

Today, Arbor Day events occur February through April in an effort to raise awareness about trees and the benefits of living in a tree friendly campus, community, city, state, nation and world.

Christian Dunn, an assistant professor of graphic design at JSU, presents his Arbor Day poster design. (Matt Reynolds/JSU)

“When we feel the need to escape the confines of cities, we often seek solace in the quiet and refuge of trees. Science has even proven this phenomenon with findings that demonstrate that when people visited woods and forests, they are happier,” Roy said in his address. “[Trees] provide sustenance for people and animals by way of fruit, nuts, leaves, and bark as well as providing the materials necessary for animals to create other forms of nourishment, such as honey. Trees also improve air quality by converting CO2, the by-product of our existence into clear air. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, one acre of woods absorbs six tons of CO2 and puts out four tons of oxygen.”

Guests at the event included Jacksonville city councilman Jerry Parris; Tyler Law, head of the JSU Tree Committee; SGA President Jesslan Sharp; members of JSU’s Earth Club and JSU faculty, staff, students and community members.



JSU speaks for the trees

Eric Taunton,  Staff Writer

Jacksonville State University will be hosting its annual Arbor Day event, which celebrates the role of trees in daily life as well as promotes tree planting and care to residents of Jacksonville.

“The annual event is a collaborative effort between JSU and City of Jacksonville Tree Committees,” said Tyler Law, Athletic and Grounds Superintendent at JSU. JSU was named a Tree City USA campus in 2012.

Neil Letson, Mayor Johnny Smith, Matt McCollough and Dr. William Meehan..jpg
JSU was named a Tree City USA campus on Feb. 23, 2012. Pictured above are Neil Letson, Jacksoville Mayor Johnny Smith, Matt McCollough and former JSU president Dr. William A. Meehan. (All photos by Matt Reynolds/JSU)

Arbor Day in the United States originated in Nebraska City, Neb. by Julius Morton. A New York native, Morton moved to Nebraska with his wife, Caroline, in 1854 where he became the editor of Nebraska’s first newspaper. Given this platform, Morton often gave agricultural advice to his readers. The State Board of Agriculture accepted a resolution given by Morton to “set aside one day to plant trees, both forest and the fruit.” Because of this, Morton is now known as the “Founder of Arbor Day.”

There are numerous organizations located in the U.S. and abroad designed to protect and spread awareness regarding trees such as the American Forests, Forest Ethics, International Society of Arboriculture, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Rainforest Alliance.

The American Forests organization, created in 1875, helped create National Forest and National forest systems within the U.S. American Forests, planting millions of trees a year and advocating the benefits of rural and urban trees, good science and sound policy.

The Forest Ethics organization works to protect trees by reforming paper and wood industries throughout the country.

The International Society of Arboriculture, created in 1924, works to raise global knowledge about the benefits of protecting trees.

The Rainforest Alliance organization works to protect tropical forests for the betterment of the Earth.

The National Resource Conservation Service, or NRCS, provides assistance to conservation districts, state and federal agencies, NRCS Earth Team volunteers, agricultural and environmental groups and professional societies. The NRCS also helps ranchers and farmers establish conservation systems according to the land makeup.

A JSU groundskeeper plants a tree  at JSU’s 2012 Arbor Day celebration.

Despite the warnings of such groups, deforestation has become a huge global threat to forests Many countries around the world directly contribute to deforestation including Indonesia, Brazil and the Democratic Republic of Congo, using trees for resources such as gas and paper.

The rate of deforestation has increased in the last 52 years. Scientists estimate that forests might be completely nonexistent within the next 100 years. This could lead to animal extinction, lack of water vapor released into the atmosphere, and soil erosion. Although reforestation would help rebuild wildlife habitats and reduce the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it would not reverse the damage that deforestation has caused.

A Nuttell oak tree will be recognized at this year’s Arbor Day event on Feb. 16, 2017 on the east lawn of Meehan Hall at 3:30 p.m. Each year following the Arbor Day event, the city of Jacksonville hosts its “Tree Giveaway on the Square,” where thousands of sapling trees are given to the public for planting. This year’s giveaway will take place on February 17 at 1:00 p.m. on the town square.

*All photos by Matt Reynolds/JSU

Members of JSU’s Earth Club pose with JSU’s Tree Campus USA banner in 2012.
Dr. William Meehan participates in JSU’s inaugural tree planting ceremony on Feb. 23, 2012