From giving away tree seedlings to doing outdoor projects and poems, the Winona State campus is celebrating Arbor Day on Friday, April 28, with a number of eco-friendly events.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the WSU Landscape Arboretum is giving away free tree seedlings at the Gazebo or inside the Science Laboratory Center Atrium in case of bad weather.
Tree seedlings will also be available at the Bluff County COOP and Midtown Foods starting Saturday, April 29th until they’re gone.
Tree giveaways are just one way that the campus — a recognized Tree Campus USA university for eight years — is participating in Arbor Day.
In the Conservation of the Environment and Society class that’s taught by biology professor Kimberly Bates, students have spent part of the semester planning environmentally friendly events in celebration of Arbor Day.
From 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Gazebo on Friday, students from the class are hosting a clothing swap and handing out free seed bombs. They’ll also be giving a crash course on recycling. Then from 2-4 p.m. in the Science Laboratory Center Atrium, they’ll be hosting a rock painting event and challenging participants to eat dirt out of a cup.
It’s the first time Bates has introduced the project to students. If it’s successful, she’s looking forward to doing it again next year.
“I hope that we can get some awareness out there on some of the environmental issues that [the students] are going to be talking about,” Bates said.
Another event that’s happening includes volunteer work.
Students will be picking up trash on Arbor Day and making the campus physically cleaner, which is a passion Bates hopes students will carry into the rest of their lives.
“I see [Arbor Day] as a symbol of time that we can focus on the environment, and bring the dialogue back around to environmental issues,” Bates explained.
James Armstrong, an english professor at WSU, has found another unique way to recognize Arbor Day.
Since 2016, students in Armstrong’s Advanced Poetry class have written poems about trees that are then printed on yard signs that are visible across campus. The project is funded by the Landscape Arboretum at Winona State University.
“[Trees] give a sense of personal connection,” Armstrong said. “It’s not just a scientific relationship. Every person has a personal relationship with a tree.”
The project not only allows students to think about their natural connections with trees, but it also provides a way for students to be published.
“[Printing on the yard signs] is a form of publication,” Armstrong explained. “And it’s unique because the work is almost immediately made public.”
It’s a neat opportunity for people to read student poems across campus, Madeline Schonitzer said who is in Armstrong’s Advanced Poetry class.
““[Trees] are intertwined in our everyday lives,” Schonitzer said. “Different trees accompany us through different life experiences, defining distinct phases in our lives. It’s important that we honor and protect them.”