(From left) Nancy Barnett of Evening Shade, a student member of the UAM Tree Board, Jessica Noble of Star City, Andrew Duncan of Navasota, Tex., and Student Government Association President Samantha Montgomery of Rison place mulch around a red oak tree as part of an Arbor Day observance at UAM. In the background (far right) is UAM student Rachel Bedenbaugh of Lakeland, Fla.

Students, faculty and staff at the University of Arkansas at Monticello planted a red oak tree at the center of campus April 26 in observance of Arbor Day, a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care.

The observance is one of five requirements for the campus to maintain its standing as part of Tree CampusUSA. The other standards include maintaining a campus Tree Board comprised of administrators, physical plant staff, faculty and students; a campus-wide tree care plan which provides guidelines for proper tree planting, care and protection during construction activities and tree replacement; an annual student service project, such as the planting and mulching project completed last week; and tree care expenditures equivalent to $3 per student. UAM currently replaces every tree lost by planting two trees in its place. 

Jay Jones, vice chancellor for finance and administration, and Samantha Montgomery, president of the Student Government Association, spoke briefly before the tree planting ceremony. The actual planting and mulching was supervised by Chris Stuhlinger, university forest manager.

UAM was designated a Tree Campus USA in 2010.

“The Tree Campus USA program is an initiative to foster the development of the next generation of tree stewards,” said Jones. “The program is designed to award national recognition to college campuses and the leaders of their surrounding communities for promoting healthy urban forest management and engaging the campus community in environmental stewardship. Since the program’s inception in 2008, 115 colleges and universities have reached Tree Campus USA status.”