More than 200 Tyler Junior College students, employees and community volunteers gathered Friday morning on the TJC central campus to plant trees in celebration of Arbor Day.
Hosted by the City of Tyler, the Tyler Trees Committee, the Texas A&M Forest Service, Keep Tyler Beautiful and TJC, the event included the addition of 65 new trees to TJC’s landscape, replacing some that had been lost to last year’s winter freeze and spring storms. Many of the downed oaks had lined TJC’s Fifth Street entrance for more than 80 years.
The new trees included an assortment of red oak, white oak, willow oak, cedar elm, ash, maple, sycamore and sweet gum, among others.
“The last few years have taken a toll on our trees,” Tyler Mayor Don Warren said during the event kickoff. “Two years ago, we had Winter Storm Uri and then we had the straight-line wind event last year. In the city of Tyler, just in the parks department alone and on some of our streets, we lost 300 trees plus another 100 that had fallen across the roads.”
Michael Boucher, resource specialist with the Texas A&M Forest Service, and TJC students plant a young tree during the Arbor Day event Friday on the TJC central campus.
During last week’s winter storm, he said the Tyler parks lost 35 trees and the street department received 489 calls for downed trees across power lines and across the streets.
“Some of those trees were 60, 70, 80 or 100 years old,” Warren said. “Every year, I get involved with the Arbor Day event here at TJC because the seeing these trees replaced is so important. I thank you all for being here and volunteering.”
“TJC is an absolutely beautiful campus,” said Dr. Deana Sheppard, TJC provost and vice president for academic and student affairs. “We’ve lost a lot of trees in the last few years, and our landscape looks a little different — but you’re going to change that today. You are going to make a big difference in how our campus looks in the years to come.”
Daniel Duncum, urban district forester with the Texas A&M Forest Service, with the assistance of foresters and TJC groundskeepers, gives Arbor Day volunteers a demonstration on proper tree-planting techniques during Friday’s event on the TJC central campus.
TJC student groups assisting with the event included: Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; Apache Aeros; Apache Ambassadors; Apache Cheer; Apache Chiefs; TJC Football; TJC STEM Club; TJC Student Senate; and TJC Women’s Soccer.