Mississippi State faculty, students, staff and local community members observed MSU's annual Arbor Day Celebration Friday [Feb. 10] with a program and tree-planting ceremony.
George Hopper, dean of the College of Forest Resources, said the event symbolized the university's commitment to serve as an environmental steward.
"Mississippi forests cover nearly 20 million acres. Trees improve the quality of life for our citizens and serve an essential role in the health of our environment," Hopper said. "As a renewable resource, trees also contribute greatly to Mississippi's economic viability. Forestry is a $12.79 billion industry in our state, employing nearly 70,000 people."
Amy Moe-Hoffman, collections coordinator of MSU's Dunn-Seiler Museum, spoke at the celebration. Moe-Hoffman also teaches geology in the Department of Geosciences and serves as chair of the MSU Museum and Galleries Committee.
"Arbor Day is a perfect time to discuss the importance of fostering environmental stewardship," Moe-Hoffman said. "Among the longest living organisms on the planet, trees are vital in the support of biodiversity across countless ecosystems."
The event, hosted by the Tree Campus USA Advisory Committee, celebrated MSU's recent recognition as a designated 2016 Tree Campus USA. This is the fourth consecutive year the university has been awarded this designation. As a campus with more than 10,000 trees on 1,500 acres, MSU met five core standards of sustainable campus forestry to earn the accolade, awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation.
Stephen Grado, George L. Switzer Professor in the Department of Forestry in the College of Forest Resources, serves as chair of the eight-person committee. Grado said the recognition is a testament to the university's dedication to beautifying its landscapes.
"Being recognized by a national organization like the Arbor Day Foundation shows the tremendous amount of time, vision and resources the university has invested to make our campus a better place," Grado said. "It shows that Mississippi State actively participates in campus beautification, improving the quality of life for students, faculty, staff and visitors."
Three October Glory Red Maple trees also were planted by the MSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters and the Waldorf Endowed Scholarship recipients. The MSU Student Chapter of the Society of American Foresters recently received the national 2016 SAF Outstanding Student Chapter Award. The Waldorf Endowed Scholarship was created by the late David Waldorf and Elizabeth Waldorf, both professors at various institutions throughout the Southeast. The scholarship strives to help cultivate future leaders in environmental sustainability.
For more information on MSU's College of Forest Resources, visit www.cfr.msstate.edu.