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Arbor Day of Service celebrates SOU’s Tree Campus USA certification

The  SOU Student Sustainability Team and the Tree, Bee and Bird Committee will host a community-wide Arbor Day of Service on April 29 – an opportunity for hands-on volunteer work, connection with others who have an interest in sustaining the environment and a free lunch.

Volunteer check-in and lunch will be from 12:30 to 1:20 p.m. in the Stevenson Union, outside the Rogue River Room. Upon check-in, volunteers will sign up for tasks including sustainable campus beautification, construction of pollinator gardens, maintenance of the SOU Community Garden and – you guessed it – tree planting.

Lunch will feature food that qualifies under the Real Food Challenge (an initiative to provide food that is ecologically sound, humane, fair, or local/regionally sourced). Joseph Whitney, who heads the initiative, will speak alongside student sustainability coordinator Elizabeth Adkisson and David West, an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Nation and director emeritus of Native American Studies.

Groups will split off at 1:30 p.m. to join the SOU landscaping Team on campus, go to the SOU Farm with the Pollinator Club or head to the SOU Community Garden. Each group will hear from local experts about tree care, pollinators or gardening.

SOU celebrates Arbor Day as part of its Tree Campus certification. The university was recognized in December of 2021, for the seventh year in a row, as a Tree Campus. The national Tree Campus USA program was founded by the Arbor Day Foundation to honor college and university campuses that effectively manage the trees on their campuses, connect with the community to promote healthy urban forest management, and have student bodies that are actively involved in environmental stewardship. There are currently 402 campuses across the nation with this recognition.

Arbor Day has been celebrated by more than 44 countries beginning in 1594, and 45  states in the U.S. since 1872. It was established as a day to honor trees and the vital role they play in the world. Did you know that one large tree can provide a day’s supply of oxygen for as many as four people? Trees also provide natural temperature regulation, water, air and soil pollution reduction, and stress relief for students and faculty on campus.

Day of Service participants will reciprocate that generosity by Mother Earth by putting their hands in the dirt and planting.

SOU’s Arbor Day observance was cancelled due to COVID-19 in 2021, so organizers are ready to make the 2022 SOU Arbor Day of Service one of the most enriching, impactful and fun events of the year. Those who are interested are urged to tell their friends, post on social media, and get the word out to anyone in the community to let them know they are invited to make a tangible and lasting impact on the local landscape. The event is open to the community.

Advanced registration is requested; those who wish to join for the volunteer lunch please fill out the form by April 26.

Story by the Student Sustainability Team, SOU Social Justice and Equity Center