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East Texas Baptist turns Arbor Day into service-learning experience

November 5, 2021

Each year on the official Texas State Arbor Day, East Texas Baptist University takes to the campus grounds to plant trees and contribute to the beautification of campus. While National Arbor Day occurs in late April, Texas Arbor Day occurs on the first Friday in November due to the cooler temperatures. In order to turn Arbor Day into a service-learning experience, ETBU provides a unique opportunity for students to get involved in the tree planting process each year.

“Genesis 2:15, says ‘the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it,’” ETBU Director of Campus Planning and Development Robert Erickson said. “From that Scripture, we should recognize that everything belongs to God, and we need to be good stewards of creation. Many of our students are going to graduate and go on to buy homes or have businesses, and they are going to realize the value that trees provide to any property. I hope that by being involved in planting trees on Arbor Day, our students learn the importance of trees and the many functions that they serve.”

This year, a record of over 80 Tiger students and student-athletes participated in the planting of four live oak trees in front of Jarrett Library on East Texas Baptist University’s campus.

 “I chose to come to ETBU because the campus is beautiful, and it felt really good to be here,” sophomore finance accounting major and Tiger Cheer and Acro team member Jacey Hicks said. “Getting to come together to plant trees with my fellow athletes and classmates is really cool. It feels so good knowing that our University leadership cares so much about making the campus beautiful.”

This year, in addition to the student participants, members from Harrison County Texas A&M Forest Service visited campus and taught the group about the importance of trees, especially for the East Texas region.

“It’s been a really cool experience just to see the students be hands-on and taking an interest in why we do this and how we do this,” Harrison County Texas A&M Forest Service Representative Jade Buckley said. “A lot of people don’t take the first step in understanding even a piece of what we do. We got into this field because we love the outdoors, we love nature, and we want to preserve what is here and make it better. It’s really nice to see different extensions of people apart from us, like the crew here at ETBU, taking an interest as well and wanting to do the best that they can to work for the same goals as us.”