Students plant for Arbor Day

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Students plant for Arbor Day

jasmyne taylor/courier staff
On Friday, students celebrate Arbor Day with the assistance of Facilities Management staff by planting trees in the spring We Care event.

jasmyne taylor/courier staff On Friday, students celebrate Arbor Day with the assistance of Facilities Management staff by planting trees in the spring We Care event.

Jasmyne Taylor

jasmyne taylor/courier staff On Friday, students celebrate Arbor Day with the assistance of Facilities Management staff by planting trees in the spring We Care event.

Jasmyne Taylor

Jasmyne Taylor

jasmyne taylor/courier staff On Friday, students celebrate Arbor Day with the assistance of Facilities Management staff by planting trees in the spring We Care event.

Chris Ginn

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 We Care, a campus landscaping improvement program, was held on Friday in front of Western Hall to plant trees and spread mulch.

 As campus community members gathered to volunteer, Superintendent of Grounds for Western Illinois University Facilities Management Tara Beal presented the opening announcement.

 “I want to welcome everyone to Western Illinois Facilities Management’s Arbor Day celebration and also our spring We Care activities with our volunteer beautification program, where we invite all faculty, staff and students to come and participate and help volunteer in the campus landscape,” Beal said.

 Before a group of 36 volunteers and staff, Matt Bierman, the interim vice president for Administrative Services, spoke on the benefits of tree planting and environmental stewardship.

 “I urge all citizens to celebrate Arbor Day and to protect our trees and woodlands,” Bierman said. “And further, I urge all citizens to plant and care for trees to gladden the heart, and to promote the well-being of this and future generations.”

 Members were then instructed by Beal on how they would  plant a redbud, which is a native shrub to the state of Illinois.

 “We’ve got some good activities planned,” Beal said. “We are going to plant a tree today. The tree we’re going to plant is a redbud tree.”

 Beal brought a crew from Facilities Management with her to assist with the event.

Beal extended her thanks to everyone who came out to support the effort to beautify the campus.

“We appreciate that, and I am really excited to see so many of you that are excited and to be a part of that on a Friday afternoon,” Beal said.

Volunteers and staff went  to work shortly after, spreading mulch on the plot at Western Hall.

Beal explained that the We Care event has been hosted twice a year since 1995, and that the event is a display of pride hosted by the faculty, staff and students.

“We Care got started because of an interest from students and from members of the campus community that were wanting to both participate in the landscape, wanting to volunteer, and also that there were members wanting to donate a garden or donate funds to be able to leave a lasting memorial,” Beal said. “We’ve taken that and made either a day in the spring and in the fall, we do a series of days, that takes that interest and
funnels it into service.”

Beal said that they also have separate programs that focus on students who have passed away while serving, as well as separated groves for employees and for students wishing to pay respect to tragedies or those they have lost.

“This actually is more about those who were just interested in wanting to participate or wanting to do a specific memorial either towards a tragedy, like (the) Oklahoma City bombing, or even wanting to create garden for a loved one (who wasn’t) necessarily associated with active service to WIU.”

Beal concluded by emphasizing the values of We Care emulated by those involved.

“But We Care is more I think, about trying to encourage faculty, staff, and students to get involved with their surroundings,” Beal said. “We have taken that and with those people interested in donating and brought it all together.”

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