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Tree Campus U.S.A.

The Capital Outlay and Facilities Department and Tree Campus, USA committee want to offer sincere thanks to our donors, workers and over 90 volunteers that participated in our fall environmental service day on Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

We began with a warm welcome to volunteers and morning snacks on a day with weather perfect for enjoying our beautiful, green campus. The group learned honor of being a Tree Campus USA as certified by the National Arbor Day Foundation and the special criteria to join: 

  1. Establishment of a Campus Tree Advisory Committee.
  2. Evidence of a Campus Tree Care Plan.
  3. Verification of dedicated annual expenditures on the Campus Tree Plan.
  4. Involvement in an Arbor Day Observance.
  5. Institution of a Service Learning Project aimed at engaging the student body. 

Biology student Ethel Francis spoke about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and announced the formation of an exciting new student organization focused on recycling, litter prevention and sustainable practices. A sign-up sheet for interested students was circulated.

Our service projects focused on sustainable food and sustainable water! Timmons Group’s Amelia Wehunt discussed water quality programs at VSU and led a demonstration of small storm water bioretention filtration systems called Filterras. Team members Devon O’Boyle and Katie Atkinson demonstrated the maintenance needed to restore the Filterras to optimum performance.

With the help of over 90 student, faculty and staff volunteers, the Dr. Sarah Melissa Witiak helped create a living wall of fall/winter vegetables and flowers using recycled pallets constructed on the rear of the Gateway Dining and Event Center. Dr. Witiak led the volunteers in planting broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, leeks, spinach and pansies in soil pockets made of landscape fabric.


Ethel Francis for her contagious passion for the natural world and support of student engagement in the environment!

Dr. Cobb-Abdullah for supporting Tree Campus USA and VSU Environmental Programs!

Dr. Jewel Bronaugh for generously providing plants and supplies for our event

Dr. Sarah Witiak and her Biology Students for sharing their love of plants and making pros out of amateurs!

GCA Educational Services Carpentry Team (Shout out to Mr. Wilder and Mr. Sorenson!) for doing the heavy lifting and turning an idea into a work of art – all 65 feet of it!

Debbie Albert for manning our sign-in table!

Amelia Wehunt, Devon O’Boyle and Katie Atkinson of the Timmons Group for their donation of morning snacks, expertise, guidance, professional services and general supervision of all!

Dr. Sarah Witiak, Dr. George Weimer, Merry Byrd and Mark Wehunt for sharing your students with us for the morning!