Students, faculty, staff, and friends from the community worked together to remove leaf litter and tree limbs from the Wake Forest cross-country trails on Friday, March 23, as part of the Office of Sustainability’s Earth Week celebration. Over 100 volunteers participated in this annual service project to give back to the campus and to celebrate Wake Forest’s designation as a Tree Campus USA.

To start the afternoon’s festivities, participants gathered to hear from Nathan Peifer, Campus as Lab Manager and Campus Garden Manager, who gave a blessing of the trees and Scott Cory, Biology PhD student, who spoke on the benefits trees provide to humans. Gail Bretan, Director of Jewish Life, also led participants in readings and song in celebration of Tu B’Shevat, the Jewish New Year for Trees.

Following the speakers, students divided into groups to plant four trees—two persimmons and two scarlet oaks—in front of the Barn. Following the speakers and the tree planting, volunteers collected leaf litter and limbs from along the Wake Forest cross country trails. This was done for fire prevention and campus beautification efforts.

This service event, along with other efforts to care for our trees throughout the year, honor the university’s commitment to the ideals represented by the Tree Campus USA designation. Event partners included Landscape Services, Residence Life and Housing, Hillel, Campus Recreation, and Athletics.

Photos from the event can be found here.