Tree Campus designation earned

Tree Campus designation earned

Posted on Friday, September 18, 2020

student walks by the large magnolia tree that anchors the Glover Garden

This might be a particularly good year to be grateful for the college’s recent reaffirmation as a Tree Campus USA, according to Associate Professor of Biology Dr. Mark Yates. “Current research shows that trees help promote a lower-stress environment,” he said.

“With the coronavirus, relationship problems and exams all serving as stressors for students—and to some extent for faculty and staff—our campus trees are a good thing to have.”

Researchers from the University of Illinois and the University of Hong Kong subjected study participants to several stressors, and then exposed them to various levels of forestation. Their results showed that higher tree density correlated with lower stress.

Last month, the college’s work to encourage healthy trees and engage the campus in the spirit of conservation earned LaGrange recognition as a Tree Campus USA. To obtain the distinction, five core standards for effective campus forest management had to be met.

“Thankfully, we have a good history of prioritizing trees,” said Dr. Yates. “This work would be more difficult if we didn’t have the plants and the history that we have here.”

Students work to remove privet from the banks of Park CreekSponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, the recognition has been earned two years in a row, and it reflects the ongoing work of the Tree Advisory Committee, Sustainability Council and Campus Services.

For an example of proper tree care, one only needs to look as far as the new Glover Garden, said Dr. Yates.

“The new slate-chip topping allows water to percolate down through the surface, and less runoff also means less water pollution. The benefit to the trees is that you are providing a better habitat for their roots.

“In our tree care plan, you’ll see that one of the things that is always a concern for trees is how close they are to sidewalks, parking lots and buildings.”

The Tree Campus designation also requires student involvement. As part of the college’s continuing work on Park Creek, the stream in front of Price Theater and Lamar Dodd Art Center, Dr. Yates and his Conservation Biology class will work on removing kudzu from the area—work postponed by yesterday’s rainy weather. The invasive plant overtakes the native trees that have been planted along the banks of the stream. Last year, the Sustainability Council sponsored an event to remove privet in the same area.

The work all builds together to create larger academic and ecological connections, said Dr. Yates.

“The Tree Campus honor feeds into the Sustainability minor and connects with our Chattahoochee River Research project, which ties us into the community, and on a larger scale, the entire watershed area,” he said.

The City of LaGrange holds the Tree City USA designation, also sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation. Earlier this year the city and the college partnered for an Arbor Day service project and celebration.


Campus notes

For the second year in a row, U.S. News & World Report has named the college a top-five school. In rankings released Monday, LaGrange also was termed a “best value” and featured on its category’s “best undergraduate teaching” list. Read more here.

Virtual Cultural Enrichment events have been added to the offerings for students this semester, augmenting in-person programs. The events will be hosted on Connect. Both virtual and in-person CE offerings will be advertised in the weekly CE emails.

Professor of Political Science John A. Tures had his article "Asian Americans’ political preferences have flipped from red to blue" published in Microsoft News and Yahoo News, as well as in several newspapers.



Men’s basketball alumnus Justyn Olson ’18 suited up for the Panthers from 2014-17, winning two USA South Championships and reaching three NCAA Division III Tournaments. The LaGrange native could do it all on both ends of the floor. Read more here.

Justyn Olson on the court as a Panther


Video of the week

COVID-19 restrictions have challenged many academic areas. Theatre Arts professor Kim Barber Knoll contends that the limitations “only made us grow more creative." For the campus community only, her students are presenting a pair of ancient tragedies, MEDEA and ANTIGONE, outdoors. Note that the audience is limited to faculty, staff and students.


In the headlines

Georgia schools top categories in U.S. News college rankings – Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 14, 2020

LaGrange College places in top 5 in ranking – LaGrange Daily News, Sept. 14, 2020

Lamar Arts exhibits return tonight – Barnesville Herald-Gazette, Sept. 11, 2020


Category: Community, College, Academics, Service, Faculty

Keywords: Tree Campus Sustainability

Press Contact

Debby Baker

Last updated: 09/19/2020