National Arbor Day at the VCU Rice Center
With thanks to the National Arbor Day Foundation and its Tree Campus USA program sponsored by Toyota, a record was made with 290 trees being planted at the VCU Rice Center. These trees were predominantly planted along the mud flats and upland of Kimages Creek. The majority were wetland trees but species included Bald Cyprus, Sycamore, White Oak, Willow Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, Black Gum (or Tupelo), River Birch, and Red Maple. The mud flats certainly made for interesting and messy work for the many enthusiastic volunteers. These volunteers included approximately 50 Green Unity members (VCU's student environmental group) as well as Ecological Service Learning students and members of fraternities and sororities, along with community members from the Richmond Tree Stewards, the Va. Department of Forestry, the Va. Department of Conservation and Recreation.
This effort, led by the VCU Office of Sustainability Director Jacek Ghosh and Brantley Tyndall, exemplifies their commitment to improving the university, and has built upon last year's first Arbor Day at VCU when just five native trees were planted on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses. Dr. Thomas Huff , Vice Provost for Life Sciences, and Daniel Fort, VCU Rice Center Chairman of the Board, welcomed volunteers along with Randy Gordon from the National Arbor Foundation. Dr. Ed Crawford, Assistant Professor of Biology, spoke on the ecological importance of trees, their role in the wetlands and in protecting the watershed, and then volunteers were given a lesson on effective hole digging by Paul Thrift, Superintendent of Grounds with a proper tree planting demonstration of a ceremonial White Oak. Richmond City Arborist Luke McCall and Green Unity leader Melanie Savia also spoke to the importance of trees and the need for building strong partnerships when developing programs such as this.