HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
The EF-4 tornado that struck the University of Southern Mississippi's Hattiesburg campus two years ago significantly changed the front landscape with the loss of more than 75 trees.
Thanks to the support from the campus community during the Tree Campus USA - Celebrate Arbor Day contest, three trees will be planted during this year's Arbor Day ceremony, set for 1 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13 on the lawn area south of the Payne Center.
"The Arbor Day Foundation congratulates Southern Miss on being one of the winners of the Tree Campus USA – Celebrate Arbor Day contest,' said Dan Lambe, Arbor Day Foundation president. "The campus is clearly passionate about their trees and it showed through the overwhelming support they received in the contest."
The Tree Campus USA – Celebrate Arbor Day contest, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and Toyota, launched on Sept. 25, 2014. The contest was open to all 2013 recognized Tree Campuses and encouraged them to submit their plans for engaging their students and campus community in celebrating Arbor Day 2015.
Fifty-one campuses entered the contest and 20 schools were selected as finalists for the online voting competition based on the originality of the celebration, student engagement, and the incorporation of trees into the plans. More than 53,000 votes were cast by the general public and Southern Miss was declared one of the top 10 winners on Oct. 24, 2014.
"As we near the completion of our landscape restoration, it is exciting to be celebrating this Arbor Day with the planting of three trees lost to the tornado," said Dr. Chris Crenshaw, associate vice president of facilities management and planning. "We are grateful to all of those who voted in support of Southern Miss, as winning the competition enabled us to fund this entire Arbor Day program."
Each winning campus will be awarded $500 toward the purchase of trees or tree-related materials, 30 Tree Campus USA t-shirts, five Tree Campus USA yard signs and two Tree Campus USA banners. All winning schools are applying for 2014 Tree Campus USA recertification.
"We are particularly excited about this year's event," said Loren Erickson, superintendent of campus landscape at Southern Miss. "We are also using it as an educational opportunity for students from the DuBard School for Language Disorders, who will assist with the planting."
Tree Campus USA, a national program launched in 2008 by the Arbor Day Foundation with generous support from Toyota, honors colleges and universities and their leaders for promoting healthy trees and engaging students and staff in environmental stewardship.