Samford students, faculty and staff volunteered with community members from the Homewood Environmental Commission, Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Friends of Shades Creek for the annual Green Skies Tree Planting.
More than 200 native seedlings were planted, expanding the more than 1000 seedlings added to portions of the Shades Creek Greenway in Homewood since the project began in 2015. The project is a part of Birmingham Botanical Garden’s Centennial Tree Program, which launched in 2009 to expand tree growth by focusing on planting native tree seedlings. Native species are ideal because they are often adapted to local soils, climates and pests.
Before planting, volunteers received education from Henry Hughes, who founded the Centennial Tree Program when he was vice president of education at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. Some volunteers also participated in an experiment, planting acorns underneath erosion control matting. If successful, this would eliminate the need for the incubation period and maintenance of tree seedlings in plastic containers.
The Green Skies event is one of many annual sustainability events offered at Samford. In October, volunteers participated in the Shades Creek Clean-up. The event, occurring every fall and spring, helps preserve the critical waterway by clearing trash from the creek that runs through the Mountain Brook and Homewood communities.
“The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences has been a constant source of support,” said Amber Kustos, Sustainability Coordinator. “I’m grateful for the students who show up with open minds and can-do attitudes.”
In November, the campus is also hosting a socially distanced fall cleanout for students, faculty and staff to shred documents and recycle electronics safely.
“In December, we will plant a new tree on the quad as part of our SHADE tree planting initiative. This past year, the university received Tree Campus Higher Education recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation,” said Kustos. “As of November 1, my position now resides within the School of Public Health, and with that, I’m most excited about the increased opportunity for academic collaboration.”