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Students make green initiative in Peabody Park

Staff Writer

Published: Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, November 10, 2010 17:11


With mattocks flying and spades shoveling, 10 students made an effort to further UNCG’s beautification efforts last Friday. The tree planting effort comes one week before the annual ivy pull, which will be on the 12th.

Headed by Dr. Elizabeth Lacey, biology professor, this mix of undergraduate and graduate students planted 30 trees on the fringe of Peabody Park near the McIver parking deck. The task only took a little over an hour and an entire forest was almost added to the area.

UNCG Facilities Operations were there to supervise the students and ensure the healthy planting of the trees. “This is the best time to be planting them,” said Bill Hardin, groundskeeper. He elaborated that when trees are planted this close to winter, the tops will quit growing but the roots will continue, ensuring that the newly planted trees gain a firm grip on the soil before they are subjected to the wind and heavy rains of spring.

The trees are Loblolly Pines, a tree very similar to Longleaf pine trees. These trees were not chosen for their bearing of shade but were picked in an effort to make UNCG’s campus contain more indigenous plant life. The trees were bought from Gilmore Plant and Bulb in Liberty, North Carolina. Chris Fay, Superintendent of Grounds, bought the trees from a special fund for beautification. This year alone, 70 new trees have been planted on campus.

This is the second time this year that Lacey has led a tree planting expedition at UNCG. Last spring they planted other Loblollys that have survived with zero mortality and are flourishing excellently.

UNCG was the first state-run school to receive the title of Tree Campus USA. This award is given by the Arbor Day Foundation. UNCG first received the award in 2009 and has applied to receive it again in 2010. UNCG is one of five schools throughout North Carolina to receive this award.

Jason Waters, a senior undergraduate in biology, helped the taskforce. “It was more that I did not know a lot about planting,” he said. Waters worked with Kirsten Trowbridge a PhD student, studying environmental health science. Trowbridge says she works with Lacey frequently, especially since her major is brand new.

Melissa Robbins, Masters student in Ecology, said that she came out “to support Dr. Lacy and help make Peabody Park more beautiful.” Ryan Kuster, seeking his masters in biology, “just wanted to get involved in the department,” but he joined with Robbins in saying, “planting trees is always good for the environment.”

Robert Isdell, undergrad in biology, just needed “an excuse to get outdoors and do something good.” His partner, Danielle Hayes, also undergrad in biology, had helped with last semesters planting and decided to help “revert Peabody Park back to native plants.”

Michael Lutfi, undergraduate in biology, has Dr. Lacey for undergraduate research. His main motivation was that it was a “good thing for the school and the grounds.” Ryan Johnson, undergraduate in biology, helped plant the trees swiftly and orderly.

Dhani Biscouno, Masters student in biology, thought this would be a “good experience beautifying the campus of UNCG.” His partner Freddy Herrera, also masters student in biology, “likes being outside,” and also thought this would be a good experience.

Dr. Lacey said that, “we’ve got great biology students.” When asked about what she had to say about the tree planting venture, Lacey replied, “I think the trees speak for themselves.” Thanks goes out to Kevin Siler and Jim Munro for coming out on their day off to help the students. The ivy pull on the 12th is open to all students who are interested. “We will take as many as will come,” Lacey said. 

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