"It was fun, it was interesting to plant a tree," stated Rahael Hetzel, a student at Northwest Missouri State University.
Hetzel was one of dozens who planted trees Monday on campus. Twenty trees were planted during a special ceremony to celebrate the university's 20th arboretum anniversary.
"It was really cool. It benefits the university and it was really cool to have a tree that our organization represents," added Hetzel.
Nearly 100 acres of the campus is dedicated to its tree farm and nursery that was established in 1857 by Thomas Gaunt. To date, 16 trees still exist on campus that were planted 150 years ago.
"We're proud of all of our species and numbers of trees on campus. Species are up around 130 or so and the number of trees on campus spanned into the 12 to 14 hundred range," added Dr. John Jasinski, the campus president.
Trees are planted not only for beauty purposes but also for people to study. Dr. Jean Brennan, landscape conservation coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service says it's important the community continue to take pride in its arboretum for generations to come.
"It's huge, it's very impressive that everyone's here but as I said it's only the start. The challenge is so great, the urgency is just so immediate that for everyone that is here they need to plant 10 more," stated Brennan.
The campus has earned several awards, including the Tree Campus USA title. Years from now, many like Hetzel hope to visit the campus to see how their tree has matured.
"I can come check it out and say, hey I did this you know 20 years from now," added Hetzel.
"You think about students and growth and planting roots and seeds developing and refocusing that's what trees do. The arboretum is a perfect metaphor for students success here," stated Jasinski.
A new app is also in the works to help track trees on campus. The university plans to plant 50 trees a year.
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