Tree Campus USA efforts continue at USAO
Members of the baseball team took advantage of heavy rains in December to keep the status of Tree Campus USA for the University of Science and Arts.
Dr. Nancy Osborn, professor of physical education, said the university had been looking for an opportunity to continue on improvement begun with the initial Tree Campus USA effort but the dry summer and fall made it nearly impossible.
“We kept waiting for enough moisture to put some trees in the ground but the weather wouldn’t cooperate,” Osborn said.
When the drought was finally broken, the question of where to put the trees was answered by the university’s baseball team. Several members of the team had been involved in the initial tree planting earlier in the spring and lobbied to have the next round focused on the Bill Smith Ballpark.
The players, along with their Coach Mike Ross and Assistant Coach Matt Hibbits, came together to dig holes in the back of center field. The trees were planted by the USAO landscape crew, overseen by Lucretia “Cricket” Scott, head groundskeeper.
The Leland Cyprus trees were made available to the university at a steep discount from Foster’s Nursery and Tree Farm in Oklahoma City. They were paid for by the athletics department and the baseball program with Osborn contributing the remainder of the cost.
Osborn said that the club plans to plant somewhere between three and five thousand saplings at the university’s outdoor classroom this spring to fulfill Tree Campus USA’s service learning requirement. They also will plan and oversee the campus’ Arbor Day observance.
The Tree Campus USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation. USAO and Northeastern Oklahoma State University in Tahlequah are the only Oklahoma universities that are currently enrolled in the program.