Tag: earth club

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.



Autumn Earth Day in Jacksonville

JSU’s Earth Club partnered with the Choccolocco Creek Watershed Alliance to offer a film screening at the Jacksonville Community Center last Saturday, September 6.

The short Southern Exposure film “Forever Wild,” which documented the story of Alabama’s Forever Wild Land Trust organization, and the featured documentary “America’s Amazon,” which focused on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta, one of the most ecologically rich—and threatened—places in the world.

David Rickless, a geography major at JSU and president of Earth Club, has been involved with the organization since his freshman year.

“The main thing coming into college was I wanted to be part of some sort of environmental or sustainability stuff—whatever was going on—and help make more things out of it. And it was something I was really in to in high school, so that was one of the first things I did when I got here.”

The Earth Club tries to host one to two events each semester. It encourages students to get involved with their meetings in Martin Hall on the last Thursday of each month at 6PM. Its goal is to promote environmental action and awareness and a cleaner, greener college campus.

After the movie screenings, guests were invited to attend a nature photography workshop on the Chief Ladiga Trail, which was led by JSU associate professor of photography and award-winning photographer, Doug Clark.

“When you get to teach an intro to photography class like I do, you’re really teaching people how to see,” said Clark, “Through this, I think you can help all of their other studies because through learning how to see through the camera, you have to slow down to think about what it is you want to capture, and when you slow down you can really look at something, maybe that you see all the time, but you’re looking at it with a deeper gaze.”

JSU’s Intro to Photography class (ART 368) is open to all students with no required prerequisite. Clark says he has students in a variety of non-art majors, including students interested in areas like communications or marketing.

“I think it really helps people develop their own creativity and it gives them the time to focus on something maybe they never have before,” said Clark.

Both Rickless and Clark hope that events like this will help students get involved in on-campus clubs and organizations and even bring existing clubs together.

“What you’re involved in is probably the biggest factor in whether you have a good college experience or not,” said Rickless, “We [the Earth Club] also have connections with the SGA, the Outdoor Adventure Club and the academic departments, so it’s also not isolated.”

Students interested in joining the Earth Club can find it on Facebook under Jacksonville State University Earth Club or can contact David Rickless for more information.

Katie Cline
Staff Writer