An Arbor Day honor: a tree for Mount Holyoke

An arbor day honor: Acting President Sonya Stephens with South Hadley Conservation Administrator Janice Stone and Mount Holyoke staff and faculty at the tree planting

By Keely Savoie

Mount Holyoke was recognized by the South Hadley Conservation Commission for its sustained environmental commitments and community contributions with an Arbor Day tradition: a tree planting.

The dedicated tree, a prairiefire crabapple that blooms purplish-red in the spring and bears dark purple fruits that last well into the winter, was planted in the arboretum behind the Michael E. Smith Middle School in South Hadley.

Janice Stone, Conservation Administrator for South Hadley, presented the honor to Mount Holyoke’s Acting President Sonya Stephens, citing the many opportunities Mount Holyoke provides the community to engage with nature and the environment on its campus and through projects and initiatives aimed at improving sustainability.

“As conservation commission members, we especially appreciate the example the campus sets for environmental stewardship, reducing energy consumption through conservation and education, recycling at a campus-wide scale, developing the Campus Sustainability Plan, and promoting ‘Living Green’ at Mount Holyoke,” said Stone. “We appreciate the $300,000 donation Mount Holyoke provided toward the purchase of the Bachelor Brook-Stony Brook Conservation Area.”

Stony Brook feeds both Upper and Lower Lakes at Mount Holyoke.

Stephens accepted the recognition, emphasizing the College’s dedication to deepening and expanding its commitments and connections to the town and conservation efforts.  “We hope that the residents of South Hadley will continue to visit our campus and use its many resources,” she said. “Just as the tree we are planting today will grow in the years ahead, I am confident our collaboration will flourish, too, sustained in the soil of the long cooperation between the College and the Town.”

Two ninth-grade science students, winners of the Arbor Day essay contest, read their essays, and then the assembled class dug into the earth to plant a new tree that will bear fruit for years to come.

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