The University of Southern Mississippi will host its annual Arbor Day celebration on Friday, Feb. 10, at 1 p.m. This year’s ceremony will include the planting of three trees on the east side of McLemore Hall as replacements for those lost from that area during the 2013 tornado. The ceremony will then move to the lawn in front of Kennard-Washington Hall to reveal the winner of the Arbor Day Tree Naming Contest.
“In 2013 we lost 74 trees, including three 100-year-old Live oaks,” said Loren Erickson, Superintendent of Campus Landscape. “This year’s ceremony is particularly exciting because we have the privilege of naming the last remaining heritage tree on the Hattiesburg campus.”
Students, faculty, staff and community members were asked to submit names for the iconic tree that is nestled in the heart of campus. A total of 159 entries were received and narrowed down to five by the Southern Miss Tree Management Task Force. The Southern Miss Community voted, and the winner name will be announced at the Arbor Day celebration.
“We are also honored to announce that The University of Southern Mississippi has been awarded the Tree Campus USA designation for the sixth year in a row,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management. “The Tree Campus USA program recognizes college campuses that effectively manage trees and engage students in the process, and we feel privileged to have received this recognition once again at Southern Miss.”
A national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation, Tree Campus USA requires designees to meet five standards, which include maintaining a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project.
Currently, there are 296 campuses across the United States with this recognition, and Southern Miss was the first of three in Mississippi to receive the honor.