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The OU Alumni Association Blog

OU Arbor Day: A Planting Tradition


Oklahoma’s Arbor Day celebration is the last full week of March.  It’s a little earlier than some communities nationwide due to different planting times.  Arbor Day is very near and dear to the University of Oklahoma and our first lady, Molly Shi Boren.  Today we celebrated on campus with a picnic at the David A. Burr Park and then a tree planting on the grounds of the Oklahoma Center for Continuing Education.

Today was extra special because we were planting the 1,000th tree since OU began officially recognizing Arbor Day in 1997.  It’s a Water Oak, also known as spotted oak or possum oak.  This type of tree grows quickly and reaches 50′ to 80′ in height and lives hundreds of years.

During the picnic, President David Boren spoke about the importance of Arbor Day and gave a brief history of the significance of trees on our beautiful campus:  It all began when OU’s first president, David Ross Boyd stepped off the train and saw what would eventually become the University of Oklahoma.  At the time, there were only nine students who had class in a tiny building and there were no trees on campus.  Boyd had a vision and was so determined to make his vision a reality that he took half of his first year’s salary, which was $2,000, and purchased as many trees as he could.  He enlisted in the help of others, telling them he’d give them a tree if they would take care of it.  He planted the rest on campus.

“Planting a tree is an unselfish act.  It’s for future years.  The tree you plant will not provide shade for you, but for other people in future generations.”  – OU President, David Boren 

Chances are, when you attended OU you participated in some sort of Arbor Day celebration.  Maybe you planted a tree or perhaps you were one of the many lucky ones who got to bask in the shade provided by other generations.  Either way, these trees are yet another special bond that tie us together and unite us as Sooners.  Happy Arbor Day!

OU President David Boren addresses the crowd gathered in Burr Park for Arbor Day festivities.

Student, staff and members of the community enjoy a picnic for Arbor Day in OU’s Burr Park.

OU Jazz Combo plays in the gazebo prior to OU’s Arbor Day presentation.
The planting of the 1000th tree on OU’s beautiful campus.

Saying hello to the 1000th tree.

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