VALDOSTA, GA – Valdosta State University will join the Valdosta Tree Commission to host the annual Arbor Day Observance and Proclamation Friday, Feb. 21, at 10 a.m. in the Pinetum at Odum Library.
During the ceremony, the Georgia Forestry Commission will honor the City of Valdosta as a Tree City USA community for its 28th consecutive year. Of Georgia’s 536 cities, only 138 are Tree Cities. Of that number, only nine cities—including Valdosta—have received this designation for 28 consecutive years or more.
VSU will also receive its second designation as Tree Campus USA, making it one of nine universities in Georgia to have this designation. The standards for Tree Campus USA designation include having a campus tree advisory committee, a campus tree care plan, a service learning project, a tree program with dedicated annual expenditures and an annual observance of Arbor Day.
Valdosta Mayor John Gayle will accept the Tree City USA Award on behalf of the city, and VSU President William J. McKinney will accept the Tree Campus USA Award on behalf of the university.
The ceremony also includes presentations of the city’s annual tree planting and preservation awards, as well as a presentation by Dr. Bradley Bergstrom, professor of biology at VSU, about the university’s Pinetum and opportunities to use the area as a learning hub. A tree will be planted at the event as well.
The Tree City USA and Tree Campus USA programs were established by the Arbor Day Foundation, along with the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service, to improve community forestry. There are more than 3,400 Tree City USA communities across the nation, representing 135 million citizens. Since the Tree Campus USA program was started in 2008, nearly 200 universities have been designated across the country, representing nearly 2.5 million students.
Parking will be available in the surface lot beside the Oak Street parking deck next to Sunset Hill cemetery, the surface lot beside the Admissions Building, the surface lot behind Martin Hall or the surface lot at the University Center.