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students plant a tree during Oklahoma State University Arbor Day celebration

OSU plants 2 trees to celebrate Oklahoma Arbor Day

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Media Contact: Sydney Trainor | Communications Specialist | 405-744-9782 |

Oklahoma State University held the 13th annual Arbor Day celebration during Oklahoma Arbor Week with the planting of two trees on the west side of the Seretean Center for the Performing Arts — one for 2023 and another for the canceled ceremony in 2020.

This year’s tree was donated by OG&E staff forester Jesse Martin. Members of OSU’s Campus Tree Leadership Board, OG&E, OSU leadership, Facilities Management, Landscape Services and students took turns planting the tree.

“Today's Arbor Day, so glad each and every one of you are here,” said Caitlin Gipson, university arborist. “We're here to celebrate our Cowboy family by planting trees on campus. This is a very special year. This is the 12th consecutive year we've been awarded the Tree Campus for Higher Education award through the Arbor Day Foundation.” 

For the first time, OSU has been named an accredited arboretum, an internationally recognized award given through the ArbNet organization that recognizes the university’s dedication to the forest with a special emphasis on education, outreach and collaboration. 

For the second year in a row, First Cowboy Darren Shrum helped plant the Arbor Day tree to beautify the campus. 

“It's such a joy to be on this campus and I'm so proud of it whenever we have potential students and alumni come to OSU because when you walk on this campus, you really can't find a place that isn’t beautiful,” he said. 

This year’s tree is a Green Feather Bald Cypress common in southeastern Oklahoma as well as the coastal plains in the U.S.

“This will turn into a very large shade tree as well as it will have very soft and feathery foliage,” said Renee Schuette, OSU Society of American Foresters chair. “This tree has beautiful orange and rusty red foliage that will come out in the fall. It will grow to be about 50 feet tall and only about 20 feet wide.

“It also grows very fast, which will help reforest our campus as best as we can. It loves the sun, and it goes well in both wet or dry soils. And, as the name implies, it has a very light and airy look to it for the leaves.” 

Gipson also announced an anonymous donation to the Tree Care and Maintenance Fund in honor of emeritus faculty member Dr. Marilyn Waters. The donor wishes to endow the arboretum with a gift in her honor. Waters received her Ph.D. in nutritional sciences from OSU and served as a faculty member. 

The 2020 Arbor Day Celebration was canceled due to the pandemic. A Redpointe Maple was planted in honor of the 2020 celebration.

“This one is deciduous so it loses its leaves in the fall, coming out to be a very bright red fall color, and has blossoms that will bloom from March to April,” Schuette said. 

In the last year, OSU has planted 240 trees across campus as a reforestation effort due to the loss of 250 trees during ice storms over the past few years. 

“I want to just impress upon you that we're leaving a legacy by planting a tree,” Gipson said. “We're planting for every member of our Cowboy family and leaving a legacy in our campus forest.”

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