Texas Arbor Day Traditions Take Root
Oct. 30, 2018
SHSU Media Contact: Wes Hamilton
Sam Houston State University’s campus has been recognized by national organizations for its beauty for many years, and during the Texas National Arbor Day celebration students, faculty and staff are invited to help add to the campus landscape by planting trees.
Unlike the National Arbor Day each April, the first Friday of November marks the Texas State Arbor Day. Texas winters are not very harsh, while temperatures in April can spike in to the high 80’s and 90’s causing problems for newly planted trees.
This year, SHSU is celebrating by hosting tree-planting events. SHSU Arborist Evan Anderson says participants will be able to help leave a legacy behind through the act of planting trees that will continue to grow and thrive for years to come.
“It is no accident that these trees are where they are on campus,” Anderson said. “People planted these trees years ago and they all serve a purpose; without them our campus would be a very different place.”
SHSU was honored with a “Tree Campus USA” designation from the Arbor Day Foundation for a fourth consecutive year. Only 364 colleges and universities received this distinction of Tree Campus USA which shows a commitment to care for the planet’s tree resources by having a tree advisory committee, writing a campus tree-care plan, dedicating annual expenditures for the campus tree care program, observing Arbor Day and having a student service-learning project to engage the student body.
The “Tree Campus USA” schools have planted more than 36,000 trees with more than 40,000 students engaging in tree-related service projects.
Anderson estimates that SHSU’s collection of trees is worth more than $11 million and said that last year’s event brought out close to 100 students to help plant trees behind Don Sanders Stadium.
“This year we planted 16 trees outside of Bowers Stadium,” Anderson said. “We keep things local by bringing in trees from our own nursery.”
Similar to sports franchises that have entire departments dedicated to gaining any statistical edge by crunching the numbers, Anderson, a big baseball fan, appreciates an analytical approach to being an Arborist by using data effectively. That is why he established a database of information about every tree on campus called the Campus Tree Inventory.
“All 2,400 trees on campus are on the interactive map and we know the history of each tree’s maintenance,” Anderson said. “It is all about analytics. We are using this data to maintain a healthy, safe and beautiful urban forest. We can also map out the environmental benefits of having that tree, how much shade it provides, how much energy that saves the university, does it prevent runoff, how many pollutants it’s taking out of the air, and how much oxygen it’s providing.”
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