Campus News

Select Sustainable Tree Trust to donate $1 million

Select Sustainable Tree Trust to donate $1 million in trees to UGA

Athens, Ga. – The Select Sustainable Tree Trust has selected the University of Georgia to receive a $1 million tree donation to “re-green” and impact the university campus with large scale, sustainable shade trees.

Established by Select Trees, the leading grower of large sustainable shade trees in the southeast, the Select Sustainable Tree Trust exists to create significant long-term positive impact in the urban environment. With this donation, the trust will provide more than 300 sustainable shade trees from Select Trees-most ranging in size from 4 to 6 inches in trunk diameter and 15-25 feet tall-each year to the university, which is known for its historic tree canopy and arboretum on its main campus in the heart of Athens, over the next ten years.

“When one thinks about a campus environment, large, healthy trees indicate institutional permanence and heritage as much as any building possibly could,” said UGA President Michael F. Adams. “These sustainable trees-while significant in their immediate impact-will truly be appreciated by students and faculty 20, 50 and 100 years from now, just as we appreciate those individuals who planted the first trees on North Campus hundreds of years ago. We appreciate the willingness of the Select Sustainable Tree Trust to offer such a generous donation.”

Select Trees has utilized the research techniques and inspiration of top UGA plant researchers, notably UGA Horticulture professor Michael Dirr. He has pioneered the discovery and propagation of trees that can thrive in urban conditions in addition to many other plants.

“Our two founders along with six of our seven partners are UGA graduates in horticulture, forestry and environmental design, so our roots are firmly established in the soil tilled by UGA researchers and professors. We’re thrilled to be able to literally watch our trees take root on campus,” said Matt Nielson, vice president of Select Trees. “Dr. Dirr and many others have poured their heart and soul into planting and cataloging the trees on this campus. We’re honored to be able to provide a donation that will provide all areas of campus, new and old, with the tree canopy and shade that make the University of Georgia such a magnet for students, pedestrians and faculty.”

The tree trust will partner with the UGA grounds department on the tree planting effort. The department will be in charge of installation and ongoing maintenance of the new trees.

“This contribution will allow us to ensure the continued vibrancy of the tree canopy on our campus, which has suffered extensively in recent droughts and from last winter’s ice storm,” said Dexter Adams, director of UGA’s grounds department. “Trees are among the most memorable features of our landscape, and this contribution will allow our grounds team to make a tremendous immediate and ongoing impact on campus.”

According to Nielson, “Dr. Dirr and UGA have greatly impacted our ability to choose Select Sustainable Shade Trees that prove to be drought tolerant, disease and insect resistant, make efficient use of nutrients and water, and thrive in harsh urban conditions.”

“Select Sustainable Trees are the result of exhaustive evaluation, reproduction from stem cuttings, and rigorous growing processes,” added Nielson. “They are also predictable and dependable, large shade trees that improve the quality of life in the urban environment.”

The University of Georgia has a strong history in arboriculture. Its historic North Campus features stately oaks and other trees that are more than 100 years old. An arboretum stretches across the entire 614-acre main campus, highlighting more than 100 types of trees. UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are national leaders in plant research and selection. UGA’s 2.5-acre Founders Garden serves as a memorial to the founders of the first garden club in America, organized in 1891. The University also manages the 300-acre State Botanical Garden of Georgia on South Milledge Ave., which is home to the headquarters of the Garden Club of Georgia.

The mission of the Select Sustainable Tree Trust is to create significant long-term positive impact in the urban environment with sustainable trees. For more than 20 years, Select Trees, the leading grower of urban tough sustainable shade trees in the southeastern United States has been donating trees to projects and organizations based on need, potential for positive environmental impact, and education. In 2007, the Select Sustainable Tree Trust was formed in order to grow and better facilitate sizable donations of sustainable trees to projects that otherwise would not be likely to plant trees of the size, quality and longevity of Select Sustainable Trees.