Published on November 1, 2016 by Philip Poole  
Centennial trees1

by Olivia Williams 

The Samford University community has a long history of nurturing and protecting the environment as an extension of the university’s Christian mission. A new opportunity to build on that commitment is available Saturday, Nov. 5, when Samford joins with the Homewood Environmental Commission and Birmingham Botanical Gardens for a Green Skies Tree Planting Day, 8 a.m.–noon. 

The event will take place along the Shades Creek Greenway across Lakeshore Drive from the main campus. The Samford team will assemble near the Samford Track and Soccer Stadium. Convocation credit is available for the first 120 students in attendance, and advance registration is requested. 

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens has nurtured “Centennial Trees” grown from the seeds of Birmingham’s native trees. After 2–5 years, the seedlings are returned to nature in projects like this that enrich and extend the tree canopy necessary to preserving urban forests. 

“Once established, native trees require minimal maintenance because they are adapted to local soil, rainfall and temperature conditions,” said Amber Kustos, Samford’s coordinator for environmental stewardship and campus enhancement. 

Kustos encourages Samford community members to get involved on Saturday to help plant and mulch the small native trees. Other opportunities include removing invasive plant species and general clean-up. 

Volunteers are also needed starting at 3 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4, to help prepare for Saturday’s event. Those interested should contact Kustos at

“It will be a good time for students to make community connections,” said Kustos. “I’m most excited about the learning opportunities that will arise and the legacy this group of volunteers will leave for future generations.” 

Anyone in the Samford community can participate, Kustos emphasized. 

Olivia Williams is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.