MSU celebrates Arbor Day with annual campus tree planting

Contact: Reagan Poston

A large group is gathered on a grassy bank along Hail State Boulevard around a Tree Campus USA banner.
MSU faculty, staff and students planted trees along Hail State Boulevard Feb. 7 in celebration of Arbor Day and the university’s designation as a Tree Campus USA, an honor awarded by the Arbor Day Foundation. (Photo by Megan Bean)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State faculty, staff and students commemorated Arbor Day on Friday [Feb. 7] by planting trees along Hail State Boulevard.

The eighth annual event took place a week prior to Mississippi’s Arbor Day observance, which occurs the second Friday in February. Nationally, Arbor Day is in April, but southern states celebrate earlier to ensure a better survival rate for newly planted trees.

Seedlings planted include loblolly pine, burr oak and bald cypress.

Two women plant pine seedlings in a grassy area with a roadway in the background.
MSU forestry graduate students Sabhyata Lamichhane of Nepal and Mahesha Kuluppuarachchi of Sri Lanka plant seedlings as part of MSU’s eighth annual Arbor Day celebration. (Photo by Megan Bean)

Paul Jeffreys, an MSU College of Forest Resources alumnus and reforestation advisor at ArborGen, Inc., was eager to supply the university with seedlings for this year’s event.

“It gives me a sense of pride knowing that ArborGen, Inc. is growing the seedlings that Mississippi State is using to beautify campus,” Jeffreys said. “It’s like my home. It’s the place that helped me meet my goals and reach my career, and I—like many other alumni—want to do everything I can to contribute back to it. For me, that means planting trees.” 

For the last several years, the Arbor Day observance also has been an opportunity to celebrate MSU’s designation as a Tree Campus USA. The event is organized by the university’s Campus Tree Advisory Committee, helmed by Joshua Granger, assistant professor in the College of Forest Resources.

 “I think people genuinely appreciate the services trees provide to our communities. They’re valued for aesthetics, wildlife habitat, watershed protection and more. Offering people the opportunity to plant a tree themselves and to have a personal stake in that tree creates a living legacy at MSU,” Granger said.

 “Twenty years from now, a former student may drive past the pine tree they planted and see it 40 feet high and recognize that they left a permanent and positive mark on campus,” Granger said.

For more information on MSU’s College of Forest Resources, visit

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