MGA's Macon Campus Earns 10th Consecutive Tree Campus USA Designation

Author: News Bureau
Posted: Wednesday, February 21, 2018 12:00 AM
Categories: Honors/Awards | Faculty/Staff | Pressroom

Macon, GA


For the 10th consecutive year, the Arbor Day Foundation recognizes the Macon Campus of Middle Georgia State University as a Tree Campus USA.

Tree Campus USA is a program founded by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize colleges and universities that effectively manage trees and engage students in participating in campus beautification and educating them on environmental issues.

Earning the Tree Campus USA designation in 2018 is especially meaningful to Middle Georgia State, said Michael Glisson, the University's grounds manager and arborist.

"We are coming up on the 10th anniversary of the Mother's Day tornado that destroyed about 90 percent of the trees on the Macon Campus," Glisson said. "Since then we've planted more than 4,000 trees, not including the forty acres of long leaf pine forest we now have, which in the next three to five years will provide premium long leaf pine straw for beautification projects on the Macon and Warner Robins campuses. We've come a long way since the tornado, and the ongoing recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation is proof of that."

In order to be named a Tree Campus USA, colleges and universities must meet five standards developed to promote healthy trees and student involvement. These five standards are: developing a tree advisory committee; maintaining a campus tree care plan; dedicating annual expenditures for tree care; observing Arbor Day; and involving students through service learning.

"MGA has successfully met all of these standards for 2018, and we are particularly proud of the level of involvement with our students," Glisson said. "Our students have helped with the planting of several native azaleas, chestnut trees, and pollinator species. Abiding by the Arbor Day Foundation standards has helped develop a campuswide understanding of how important trees are, not only to the beauty of our campus and the environment but also to our students and community. "

On May 11, 2008, a tornado hit the Macon Campus of what is now Middle Georgia State University. In addition to destroying most of the tree canopy, the twister took out many of the ornamental shrubs of the campus's Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens. Landscape and building damage totaled an estimated $11 million.

Campus leaders and community volunteers developed a master plan to restore the botanical gardens and replace trees. Most elements of the master plan have been realized a decade later, thanks in part to the ReLeaf Campaign that raised over $500,000. The campaign featured named gardens identified in the master plan, which were sponsored by the James H. Porter Charitable Trust, Chris R. Sheridan & Co, Dr. Carolyn Bradley, Bold Spring Nursery, Charles H. Jones Family Foundation, BB&T, Community Foundation of Central Georgia, Oliver C. Bateman Family, and the Vaughn Jordan Foundation.