Arbor Day Activities Celebrate Arboretum and Tree Campus USA Recognition


Washington College Celebrates Arbor Day and College's Commitment to Environmental Initiatives With a Full Slate of Activities on Friday, April 29

Virginia Gent Decker Arboretum at Washington College

Washington College is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Arbor Day with a full slate of activities that highlight some of the institution’s own environmentally-focused initiatives, including the revitalization of the Virginia Gent Decker Arboretum, and the College’s 3rd year of  Tree Campus USA Higher Education recognition by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Set for Friday, April 29th, the activities include a tree planting ceremony, the dedication of new sign for the Arboretum, guided tours of flowering tree trails in the Arboretum, the investiture of Kathleen M. Verville, Ph.D. into the Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Chair in the Natural Sciences, and the conferral of an Honorary Doctor of Science degree upon Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens. Norton will be delivering a major address as well.

Several of these activities were due to be celebrated in 2020 but were postponed due to the pandemic.

The detailed schedule for the day is as follows:

11:30 AM: Tree Planting Ceremony (Martha Washington Square)

The tree is a tulip poplar, a descendant of one planted by George Washington at Mount Vernon and has been gifted to the College by the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union. Dean Norton, Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon, will give an address titled “The Beauty of the Trees and the Richness of the Land” and then students from the First-Year Seminar “Consider the Tree” will offer short readings.

The tree planting will commemorate Washington College’s designation as a Tree Campus USA Higher Ed., which was first awarded in 2020. Further underscoring the campus’ commitment to sustainability, the tree will be nourished with soil generated at the Campus Garden, in collaboration with the Compost Team.

12:00 Noon: Unveiling and Dedication of Arboretum Sign (Clifton M. Miller Library Terrace)

The Arboretum’s new sign will be dedicated. It was produced by staff member Brian Palmer, Director, Digital Media Services, using wood from a campus tree. The handmade sign showcases the Arboretum logo and highlights the importance of Second Life Initiative, repurposing lumber from fallen trees on campus & the community.

Arboretum interns will offer remarks on the process of tagging trees and creating digital story maps as part of the revitalized Arboretum experience. Following the dedication there will be a scavenger hunt, and tree-themed activities for all ages & Arboretum Guided Tours.

4:30 PM: Arbor Day Celebration Ceremony (Hynson Lounge, Hodson Hall)

The ceremony highlights include the investiture of Kathleen M. Verville, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology as holder of the Alonzo G. and Virginia G. Decker Chair in the Natural Sciences, and the conferral of the Honorary Doctor of Science degree upon Jeffrey Dean Norton. Following the degree ceremony, Norton will deliver the keynote address, titled, “’I Am Conscious of a Defective Education’ The Resilient George Washington.”

An invitation-only dinner honoring Drs. Verville and Norton will close out the day-long celebration.

About The Center for Environment & Society

The Center for Environment & Society serves as a bridge between Washington College and the rich natural and human resources of the region.  In a world with increasing environmental and related social problems, CES is focused on preparing Washington College graduates to help solve the most pressing of these problems through innovative curriculum, real-world experiences, training in cutting-edge technologies, and new ways of thinking.