University Earns Tree Campus USA Honor in Advance of Arbor Day Celebration

April 13, 2016

A tree-planting on Monday with the president of Arts, Science & Technology University of Lebanon was just the first of several planting ceremonies that will culminate in a new orchard being planted during the fourth annual observance of Arbor Day on the Emporia State University campus.

The work to beautify the campus has earned the university its third consecutive Tree Campus USA designation. Tree Campus USA is a national program created in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation and sponsored by Toyota to honor colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.

Emporia State University achieved the title by meeting Tree Campus USA's 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.

The campus Arbor Day event will be April 29. Before that, however, a special tree planting will honor Dr. Ethan Schmidt, an Emporia State alumnus who was fatally shot in his office at Delta State University in Mississippi in September 2015.

Schmidt was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity at Emporia State. The fraternity has organized the Dr. Ethan Schmidt Memorial Tree Planting for 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 23 on the lawn south of Roosevelt Hall. Schmidt’s family plans to attend the planting of an oak tree. A memorial service for deceased members of Phi Delta Theta will follow at 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union.

Then, on April 29, ESU students will spread across campus to plant trees along Highland Drive as well as ornamental grasses and a diverse array of plants. A new orchard featuring apples, pears and peaches will also be planted in Campus Woods on the north end of campus.

“Arbor Day is a very significant day because it gives one the chance to physically contribute to the landscape and beauty of our campus, plus it’s nature-friendly!” said ESU student Nkendirim Nwogu, a 2015 Arbor Day participant.

The Arbor Day event begins at 1 p.m. in Union Square. ESU students who want to help must pre-register by Friday, April 15, by emailing Community Hornets at chornets@emporia.edu.

“Our Arbor Day events wouldn’t be successful without our partnership with ESU Facilities,” said Blythe Eddy, ESU director of student activities and community service. “Every year, they have prepared our planting areas and ensured our students plant the new vegetation correctly.”

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