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The Blue & Gray Press | July 16, 2018

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Arbor Day celebration takes root at UMW

Arbor Day celebration takes root at UMW


Every year, many citizens all over the world participate in Arbor Day, a day when individuals are encouraged to engage in the planting and caring of trees.

The University of Mary Washington Arbor Day Celebration focused on learning the history of a 200-year-old oak tree at Brompton, completing a service project with Tree Fredericksburg, a nonprofit that gathers volunteers to plant and tend trees, and observing a brief ceremony.

The President’s Council on Sustainability held the event to gain Tree Campus Designation from the Arbor Day Foundation. According to the foundation website, the Tree Campus USA program is designated to help colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy community forests.

Gabby Burgos, a senior sociology and psychology double major, believes the university’s push to sustain a healthy community forest is an important initiative.

“Sustainability has been a hot topic on campus, and the student body is really supportive of the push toward sustainability,” said Burgos. “I think with that in mind the Arbor Day Event could be successful.”

This holiday originated in a Spanish villa by the name of Villanueva de la Sierra, launched by a local priest promote the importance of trees within communities.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation’s website, holding the event would be beneficial to the university.

The Arbor Day Foundation explains that trees on college campuses can reduce the amount of energy the campus needs to produce, can decrease the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and provide a relaxing atmosphere.

Planting trees also gets students involved in community service projects, which can build a commitment toward creating a more sustainable future.

Madalene McAllister, a graduate student in the education program, said she hopes that the Arbor Day Celebration will continue at UMW every year.

“Any celebration that outwardly promotes environmental sustainability, community service and the history of Fredericksburg is an event that should not only be celebrated every year, but it should also receive a large amount of praise from the students, faculty and staff at the University of Mary Washington,” said McAllister.