Tree Campus SUU: Eighth annual Arbor Day celebration

On Wednesday, March 30, Southern Utah University’s Tree Board will throw its eighth annual Arbor Day celebration at the Native Garden. Refreshments will be provided as well as opportunities to win raffle prizes such as terrariums, seeds and even a small tree.

“For the event on Wednesday, we are going to emphasize the important role of gardening with native plants to support pollinators and conserve water,” said Angela Patino-Acevedo, the greenhouse manager and biology technician at SUU. Attendees will learn how to make a “bee hotel” as well as water-wise, xeriscaping practices. 

The Native Garden is the perfect place to hold an event honoring the Earth and its trees. The garden “showcases in an area of 29,000 square feet, 79 different native species of plants from the three ecoregions surrounding the Cedar city area,” said Patino-Acevedo.

In 2018, the Utah Division of Forestry gave SUU a grant to improve the Native Garden. Since then, they have adjusted the landscape to highlight their spectacular showcase of foliage, trees and flowers native to the Utah High Plateaus, Great Basin and Mojave Desert ecosystems.

SUU obtained Tree Campus USA status in 2015. This distinction is given by the Arbor Day Foundation to universities that create a green space on campus to benefit their students and the environment. Wednesday’s celebration helps SUU’s tree committee to uphold one of the five standards to maintain this status:

  1. Establishment of a campus tree advisory committee
  2. Evidence of a campus tree-care plan
  3. Verification of the plan’s dedicated annual expenditures
  4. Observing Arbor Day
  5. Creating a service-learning project aimed at engaging the student body

In addition to these accomplishments, the Tree Board has been collecting an inventory of all the trees on campus since 2017. 

“[We held] a big event where students, faculty, staff and members of the community [helped to] identify and measure every single tree at SUU,” said Patino-Acevedo. This information has been collected and organized into a map that will soon be made available to the public.

SUU’s commitment to creating a beautiful campus for students is only possible because of the many volunteers that help with the campus gardens and greenhouse. The event will take place at the Native Plants Garden located behind SUU’s tennis courts off of 1150 W and Thunderbird Way. Come out to learn how to care for the beautiful plants on and around SUU’s campus. 


Article by: Lily Brunson

Photos courtesy of: Angela Patino-Acevedo