Phenix City Campus seeks to raise awareness of proper tree planting, care through Tree Campus activities

TROY staff and students joined volunteers from the Master Gardeners program to collect tree measurements.

TROY staff and students joined volunteers from the Master Gardeners program to collect tree measurements.

Tree planting and care was the focus of a Tree Campus Higher Education event held this month at Troy University’s Phenix City Campus.

The project was led by Linda Finley, Administrative Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for the Phenix City Campus; Dale Dickens, Arborist for the Alabama Forestry Commission; and Jennifer Davidson, County Coordinator for the Russell County Extension Office.

Dickens, whose focus is urban forestry, shared important tips for tree planting and how to maintain and care for trees and also discussed the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus program.

Tree Campus Higher Education was founded in 2008 to foster that tradition of excellence, providing a framework for colleges and universities to grow their community forests, achieve national recognition and create a campus their students and staff are proud of.

All four of Troy University’s campuses in Alabama were awarded the Tree Campus Higher Education designation in June by the Arbor Day Foundation. The Phenix City Campus has received the designation each year since 2015.

“Tree Campus Higher Education is a recognition program that grew out of the Tree City USA program of the National Arbor Day Foundation,” Dickens said. “During the environmental surge in the 1970s, one of the things that was looked at was that people wanted more trees. There weren’t any instructions for planting or care so the Arbor Day Foundation came up with some guidelines and have sought through these recognition programs to educate people on the planting, care and maintenance of trees.”

In order to receive the Tree Campus Higher Education designation, a campus must meet five standards established by the Arbor Day Foundation:

  • Establishment of a campus tree advisory committee;
  • Provide evidence of a campus tree care plan;
  • Verification of the plan’s dedicated annual expenditures;
  • Host an Arbor Day observance or activity; and
  • Create a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body.

“We want to be sure that students are getting involved and having an opportunity to learn, rather than just sitting in the background as observers,” Dickens said. “This program seeks not only to educate about the care of trees, but also to raise the environmental awareness of students, faculty and the university community.”

Following the in-class presentation, Dickens conducted a tree autopsy, examining five saplings and explaining reasons for the lack of growth or death seen in three of the trees.

The day’s activities ended with participants dividing into small groups to collect measurements of the trees on the riverfront campus. Bob Silverman, Julie Nuckols, Laura Murphy and Shannon Miller, volunteers from the Master Gardeners program, were joined by TROY staff and students to collect diameter measurements of the campus’ trees.