May 25, 2024

After 10 years, CBU continues to give back to the environment with its annual Arbor Day event, where students come together to improve the scenery and cleanliness of their campus. The two-day experience provided opportunities for students to enhance their environment. 

Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science, explained the goals for each day and how students worked together to make a difference in their community. 

“On March 1, students focused on planting fruit trees and installing drip lines at Lancer Farm and Gardens, also known as LFG. LFG is a place where students can go and pick their produce, look at flowers and honor God’s creation,” Koo said. “On March 2, the students and environmental science leaders met in Stamps courtyard and split into three teams for a trash clean up. Monroe Street, Diana Street and the Colony at CBU were the areas where the cleanups occurred.”

Across the two days, 90 students volunteered their time to improve CBU’s garden or pick up trash along the three separate streets. 

Three trees were planted on Friday, while students collected seven full bags of trash across all cleanup teams. Natalie Cruz, senior biology major and president of the Botany Club, shared how Arbor Day is an opportunity for the school to improve its biodiversity. She emphasized the agricultural issue of monocropping, where large fields only contain a single crop, and stated that this technique leaves fields highly susceptible to widespread disease. 

“If we start to diversify what we plant, we can plant something next to another plant that can prevent other pests coming near it so that they kind of coexist and help each other out,” Cruz said. “For example, out here, some of the plants that we have are pretty susceptible to the raccoons, so we’ll plant the aloe around it and the aloe will naturally keep out any raccoons or other kinds of animals from getting into our plants. These garden beds a couple of years ago would always get taken over and there would be a bunch of holes and once we started adding in the aloe, it happened a lot less.”

Besides establishing a better ecosystem and fostering biodiversity, Kelsey Bechler, senior environmental science major and vice president of the Botany Club, pointed out that the event was a great way to educate students on how they can better serve their community. 

“It’s super important just having these people here just so that they can even see what it’s like to be planting trees and look at the labor of their fruits and what’s happening with this garden and things that,” Bechler said. “They can take home oranges from off the trees and learn what compost is and how to water trees. It’s just so important to see how basic things start to live and grow and how they can even implement this in their own lives and their own homes and have food for themselves that they’ll feel proud of when they grow. I think it’s important that we’re educating people like this just so that they’re aware for their future.” 

Dr. Jacob Lanphere touched upon this subject, stating that nurturing plants and spending time in God’s creation is essential to one’s quality of life. 

“God made us to be happy when we help other people,” Lanphere said. “When we help other people or take care of this environment, we take care of God’s creation, we’re satisfied. In the book of Genesis, we read that God created a garden, the Garden of Eden. Then he created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden to tend it and take care of it. And so when we’re doing these exercises, we’re creating that experience when God created Adam and Eve originally. We get satisfaction out of that as humans because that’s what we were made to do.”    

Lanphere summarized Arbor Day’s purpose, explaining that the event was an excellent way for students to interact with nature and become attuned to the Lord’s intelligent design.

“The vision and purpose of this event today, Arbor Day, Spring 2024, is to allow students to engage in God’s creation, to take part in adding biodiversity to Lancer Farm and Gardens, to engage in an operation that allows them to appreciate God’s artwork and his design and to make a positive change,” Lanphere said.

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