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VSU Celebrates 11th Tree Campus USA Recognition

VALDOSTA – Undeterred by the threat of inclement weather, Valdosta State University celebrated its 11thArbor Day Foundation Tree Campus USA recognition and renewed its commitment to effective urban forest management during a Georgia Arbor Day ceremony Friday.

Arbor Day ceremony guests learned what it takes to achieve the Tree Campus USA designation, including the work behind maintaining VSU’s urban forest and why those efforts are important to student success and the health and wellbeing of every member of the university community. They also helped plant a new live oak tree, a symbol of wisdom, strength, and endurance and the official tree of the Peach State.

The live oak tree, located near VSU’s Fine Arts Building, was dedicated in memory of Keagan Kung-Korte, a former Dual Enrollment Honors Academy student from Nashville, Georgia, who died in October 2020.

“Each year it takes the combined effort and support of the entire campus community and the surrounding City of Valdosta to make sure VSU’s urban forest is preserved and enhanced,” shared Monica Haynes, superintendent of Landscape and Grounds at VSU.

Haynes thanked every member of the VSU community for helping the university’s grounds maintenance team continue to create a desirable campus for living, learning, working, and playing.

“I want to give a special thanks to the students,” she shared. “Through the pandemic, classes, practices, and activities, they have come and helped plant trees, bringing positive attitudes and energy. The Blazer Baseball team, the Honors College, and so many other student groups have helped plant trees, and we’ve had a blast. Of course, it takes our whole campus and surrounding community, but these past couple of years, the passion and resiliency of our students has been especially inspiring and motivating.”

Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging college and university community members in conservation goals. Collectively these institutions of higher education invested more than $29 million in campus forest management last year.

The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization dedicated to inspiring people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees.

VSU’s Department of Landscape and Grounds is committed to providing the campus community with the highest quality service in the areas of horticulture, landscape maintenance, landscape construction, irrigation, and trash compaction. Each grounds maintenance team member takes pride in his or her efforts to maintain the distinctive beauty of the campus and how that supports university-wide recruitment and retention efforts.

Area residents who wish to explore VSU’s urban forest are encouraged to take advantage of the Walking Trail System. Main Campus is home to a Fitness Route and a Scenic Route, which offer opportunities to learn more about the university’s history, outdoor art collection, urban forest, and more. A third route may be found on North Campus across from South Georgia Medical Center.




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