USM tree project enhances urban forestry

© Kenneth Rhinehart
© Kenneth Rhinehart

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -  A Southern Miss professor and his environmental science class have nearly completed their mission to catalog all the trees on campus.

They are doing this to draw attention to the importance of trees as a Mississippi resource.

In addition to being a professor, Kenneth Rhinehart is also a tree owner, manager and officer with the Wayne County Forestry Association.

In 2010, Rhinehart along with his class began the task of cataloging the more than sixty types of trees on campus.

The project is now ninety five percent completed. Rhinehart hopes the knowledge gained from this initiative will draw attention to the growing field of urban forestry and the benefits trees provide to a city.

According to Rhinehart, "Students really enjoy it. It's a project, and they learn about the trees. And there is so much that we in the area don't know. We are a tree state."

Rhinehart explained that trees help cool cities, reduce energy costs and protect populated areas from storms.

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