April 22, 2019  

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Southern Miss Tree Task Force to Host Annual Arbor Day Celebration

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The University of Southern Mississippi will host its annual Arbor Day celebration on Friday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. with the unique edible orchard serving as the event site and focus of the ceremony. The orchard is located just south of the Payne Center on the Hattiesburg campus.

“We are excited to observe Arbor Day at the edible orchard,” said Loren Erickson, Superintendent of Campus Landscape. “We will be greatly improving and expanding the orchard to include most trees and plants that will grow and produce in Mississippi. With a total of 40 trees and plants, arbors and pathways, we will be able to say we have a legitimate orchard experience for all who visit.”

Originally planted in 2016, the expanded orchard will include 16 new additions of fruit trees and berry bushes, including plum, olive, avocado, satsuma, and trellised apple trees, plus blueberries, grapes, and muscadine bushes.

“Our Tree Task Force Committee has put much thought and planning into designing a landscape that meets the needs of our students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, Associate Vice President for Facilities Planning and Management. “In addition to the plantings in the orchard, there are a variety of edible fruits, berries and nuts available across campus for all to enjoy.”

The ceremony will also include a short talk by Dr. Malcolm Guidry, a consulting arborist on the Friendship Oak remediation, on establishing an edible landscape. After which, five trees will be planted with the assistance of students from the Dubard School for Language Disorders.

This event is open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. An edible campus map showing the location of edible fruits and berries across campus will be available for all attendees. For more information about the Southern Miss Physical Plant, contact Michelle Shinall at michelle.shinall@usm.edu.