Troy University’s arboretum has been awarded a $25,000 grant from Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama’s (HMMA) Charitable Giving Program for continued upgrades to the arboretum grounds.
Dr. Alvin Diamond, biology professor and arboretum director, said the funds will be used to replace the bridge to the island in Mullis Pond, clear fallen trees, purchase and install a floating pier for class use, plant native wetland plants around the pond and install trash cans.
“We greatly appreciate all the help we’ve received from Hyundai,” he said. “This really will help to improve the arboretum and make it more accessible, not only for the classes and students, but also for the general public and citizens of Troy.”
HMMA’s Charitable Giving Program concentrates efforts toward improving education, supporting the cultural arts, celebrating diversity, protecting the environment and promoting health, physical fitness, and recreation.
HMMA officials visited the Troy Campus on Friday, Oct. 14 to experience the arboretum and present the $25,000 grant.
“Investments in education can follow either traditional or innovative paths to enrich a student’s learning experience,” said Robert Burns, HMMA vice president and chief administrative officer. “HMMA has chosen to support Troy University’s plans to enhance the arboretum because it will benefit students and citizens in the surrounding community. We are glad to assist in a way to further develop outdoor learning and recreational experiences that will ultimately strengthen each visitor’s connection with the environment at the Pocosin Nature Preserve.”
The arboretum encompasses 75-acres and features seven and a half miles of nature trails, over 500 identified plant species, a pond, an outdoor classroom and an indoor classroom. Earlier this year, care of the arboretum was transferred back under the wing of Diamond and TROY’s College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, and with the help of a team of volunteers from across the University and community, extensive work has been done to return the grounds to its former glory.
“The arboretum is a gem, and we’re working hard to amplify not only the educational opportunities we can offer our students and the public, but the natural beauty of this area,” said Dr. Steven Taylor, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “This is a huge contribution from Hyundai, and it’s very gratifying to have someone in the community support our activities and help provide better opportunities for our students.”
Classes are currently being held in the newly-renovated outdoor classroom, and an area has been cleared for a pollinator garden for bees, butterflies and other important pollinators. Future upgrades will feature installing informational kiosks and two self-guided, half-mile nature trails.