Three Augusta University campuses received a new tree on Friday to commemorate Arbor Day.
A live oak was planted in front of the Student Center on the Health Sciences Campus; a vitex was planted by the Jaguar Student Activities Center on the Summerville Campus; and a Cornel dogwood was planted by Christenberry Field House on the Forest Hills Campus.
The event was organized by the Facilities Operations Division and Student Government Association members and student athletes helped plant the trees in each location.
“These trees serve multiple purposes: they filter pollutants from the air; are home to birds and squirrels; beautify our campuses; and prevent soil erosion,” said Augusta University Facilities Operations Director James Grigg. “Arbor Day is a great day to remind people how important trees are, not only aesthetically, but to the environment.”
The live oak is the state tree of Georgia and is often referred to as “the iconic tree of the South,” according to the National Arbor Day Foundation. Vitex, also known as the chaste tree, is native to China but has become naturalized throughout the South. When in bloom, it is full of long spikes of purple, white and lilac flowers. A Cornel dogwood’s yellow blossoms grow in round clusters and its glossy, green foliage changes to a yellow/burgundy color in the fall.
Arbor Day is observed on the third Friday in February in the state of Georgia. While the national celebration takes place in April, the subtropical climate in Georgia is far more hospitable to plant life earlier in the year.