Tree planting highlights Earth Day


Matt Barney

As part of Earth Day, a tree planting ceremony took place on the Oval. The seven ft. juniper tree was purchased and planted by Don Buck and Steven and Michael McDonald from Ozark Nursury. The extremely sturdy tree will grow to an estimated height of 15-20 feet and will also function as a Christmas Tree in December with lights and ornaments. Theresa Shufflin, Staff Senate and Kelly Wilson, director of advising, counseling, and testing spoke at the event. 

Earth Day, which is celebrated every year on April 22, is not one of the nation’s most popular holidays because there are no celebrations or exchanges of gifts that go along with it. Regardless, the day did not go unnoticed at Missouri Southern, who had a handful of Earth Day activities for students, faculty, and the community to enjoy.

Billingsly Student Center was where the bulk of the Earth Day activities took place. On that Friday morning, the second floor was filled with booths from local organizations there to help teach students about their missions and ideas on how to save the planet and better our lives in general. One of the booths there belonged to the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Counsel organization, who had representatives for it and its Region M branch. The organization in general works toward conservation, but there is more to it than that.

“Region M is pretty much focused on recycling so we do a lot of grant programs in the area for people who do recycling, people that own recycling business,” said HSTCC’s Lloyd Luapula. “We give them grants to sort of help with that.”

Ines Nizeye, another HSTCC employee, added that the Harry S. Truman portion of the organization focuses more on assisting people with housing and comes up with comprehensive plans for cities in the four counties that the organization serves.

Jessica Beck of HSTCC explained that part of their goal in coming to places like Southern and teaching about their organization is to “really reduce the waste we put in landfills.”

Luapula added, “Not everyone knows about recycling, so we get out here and put the word out.”

The second floor of Billingsly wasn’t the only place where activities were hosted. In the ballroom on the third floor, there were speakers all day coming in and out to teach the crowd about different aspects of conservation. Faculty members were urged to allow their students to attend.

Besides the educational aspects of the day, there was also an opportunity for bonding and for making a lasting impact on the campus. At 10 am, a six to seven foot juniper tree was planted on campus by Steven and Michael McDonald and Don Buck of the Ozark Nursery. According to them, the three will grow to be up to twenty feet tall. Theresa Shufflin of the staff senate and Kelly Wilson of the Advising, Counseling, and Testing Department were on hand as presenters at the event. 

Fred Schlegel, an environmental engineer from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, was also present at Southern’s Earth Day festivities. He had a wonderful message for students about why living a life of conservation is important.

“It’s important for the future, for young lives and the lives of your children and grandchildren. We only have one earth, there’s nowhere we can [go] escape the kinds of activities we create here,” Schlegel said. “It’s everybody’s job.”