HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi will host its annual Arbor Day celebration Friday, Feb. 12 at 1 p.m. on the south side of the Payne Recreation Center on the Hattiesburg campus. This year's ceremony will feature planting of an edible orchard with assistance from students at the DuBard School for Language Disorders.
"We're always excited about Arbor Day, and especially this year with the establishment of an edible orchard," said Haley McMinn, assistant director of sustainability for the Physical Plant. "What could be more fresh and sustainable than having an orchard right here on our campus?"
USM is designated as a Tree Campus U.S.A. by the Arbor Day Foundation, and the Southern Miss Physical Plant landscape team strives to maintain a healthy and thriving community forest. This year's plantings will not only expand the University's tree canopy, but the area will also serve as a teaching tool for the Southern Miss biology department.
A variety of fruit trees and berry bushes have been selected to encourage beneficial insects, especially bees, which are important pollinators for the campus landscape. The tree varieties will include satsuma, lemon, pear, apple, chestnut, fig, pecan and Chinese plum, along with mulberry, pomegranate, muscadine and blueberry shrubs.
"We've chosen to plant an edible orchard to promote the growth and consumption of healthy food," said Superintendent of Campus Landscape Loren Erickson. "In a few years, these plantings will produce ample amounts of fruits and berries, demonstrating that Mississippi is a great place to grow your own food."