Macon State College is not only a place for higher learning, but its 419-acre campus here in Central Georgia is home to one of the most active and unique community forestry programs in the Peach State and has received national attention from the Arbor Day Foundation over the past few years.
The Arbor Day Foundation came into existence in 1972 and this nonprofit conservation and education organization’s main focus is to educate the public in regard to planting trees and explaining the benefits of conservation through various education programs.
One of the designations that Macon State has received is their distinction of being a part of The Tree City USA program which is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, but it is a collaboration nation’s Forest Service along with the National Association of State Foresters.
These organizations provide support, guidance and technical assistance for various urban and community forestry programs across the nation.
Macon’s State commitment to planting trees has been longstanding, but to receive consideration as part of the Tree City program, four requirements had to be met:
The first was that someone must e designated to be legally responsible for the care and management of the trees . The staff responsible for the trees consist of a professional who knows how to care for trees and there is an advisory board to deal with various issues.
Secondly, a tree ordinance must provide a detailed plan of action in regard to implementing an annual plan of action that appeals to the needs of the local area.
The third requirement is that an established budget must revolve around the upkeep and care of the community forestry program that focuses on planting needs and properly addressing things such as a watering schedule along being able to deal with insect and disease problems as well.
Lastly, a promotional event that honors Arbor Day that invites and educates the local community through a tree planting event and awards ceremony.
Macon State’s campus is located along Interstate 80 or Eisenhower Parkway in western Bibb County. If one is a visitor or actually live in Macon, one can’t help to see the thousands of trees that populate the college campus and this is by design.
The student body and the dedicated staff at Macon State have always been involved in developing a campus that respects the environment.
One example of that respect is the genesis of the 167 acre Waddell Barnes Botanical Gardens which is situated across from the campus and it is open daily to the public free of charge.
The campus is divided into 16 gardens and they are: Xeriscape. Asian, Wet Environment, Fall Colors, European,Fruit Trees , Fragrant, Industry, Medicinal, Southern Traditional , Showy Flowers, Showy Fruit, Natives, Shrubs and Vines, Touch & Feel, and Urban Environment.