Annual tree planting day held at Ozarks

Release Date: 11/13/2006

Students help beautify campus.

CLARKSVILLE, ARK. (Nov. 13, 2006) -- An early-morning chill was not enough to keep Ozarks students from coming out on a Saturday to plant several trees along the main campus mall.

"I hope (we) can make people aware of the environment in which we live, and work together to make it a better place," said Case White, president of Ozarks' Planet Club and one of several students using shovels and sacks of topsoil to stabilize maple, oak and Chinese Pistachio trees.

The tree planting is the brainchild of Ozarks Biology Professor Doug Jeffries, who envisions a leafy campus long into the future. "We're looking at how the campus will look in 100 years and even 200 years," Jeffries said.

Jeffries, Ozarks' "Tree guy" has organized campus tree plantings since the very first one in 1997. He can impressively tick off numerous trees he has planted with student help all over campus.

Jeffries selects and buys all the trees from a nursery near campus, carefully choosing trees that will fare well in the campus environment and climate, such as red maples. "They're more drought-resistant and tolerant of the southern weather," he said. He also instructs students on proper tree planting procedures, including preparing the topsoil and stabilizing the trees once they're in the ground.

In addition to planting new trees, Jeffries has overseen the replacment of damaged trees, such as a Red Oak blown apart by lighting in April 2004.

About 150 trees have been planted since the first tree planting. The Ozarks' grounds department helps maintain the trees, watering and performing other maintenance tasks.