One of the first things visitors to the University of Georgia’s campus in Athens notice is the trees. With over 10,000 trees on campus, they make an indelible mark on students, faculty, staff and visitors alike.
The keepers of UGA’s arboreal legacy — the UGA Arboretum Committee — is hosting an eight-month photo contest to help document the trees that have become part of the campus’s personality. Open to students, faculty, staff and the general public, photographers could win up to $500 for taking a photo of their favorite tree or shrub.
“Whether it’s cherry blossoms in the spring, colorful crepe myrtles in the summer, or watching the leaves change in the fall, there’s always something to admire on campus,” said Tim Smalley, associate professor of horticulture in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “The campus trees are special because they create the serene and peaceful environment that fosters the spirit of curiosity and community on our campus.”
Smalley has introduced hundreds of UGA students to the trees on campus through the lab for his course, “Woody Landscape Plant Identification and Use,” which involves weekly tree identification walks around campus.
“The campus hosts many unusual tree specimens — like the blue Atlas cedar on Lumpkin Street, the Chinese lace bark pines near Soule (Hall), the California redwood in the Founders’ Garden and the oriental fringe tree in the Founders' Garden.”
It is easy to take our trees for granted, but this contest is a great way to appreciate and explore the beauty of UGA’s campus, he said.
“We hope that the contest encourages students to start paying more attention to the beauty of the campus all around them,” said Doug Bailey, department head for the UGA Department of Horticulture and chair of the UGA Arboretum Committee.
“It’s our way of saying, ‘Hey, take a look around you, and don’t take it for granted.’"
The deadline for submissions is Jan. 17, 2016. This gives photographers almost a full year and four seasons to take a photo that encapsulates the “beauty of our campus trees and shrubs.”
To submit a photo, email your .jpg or .jpeg file to firstname.lastname@example.org. All submissions should be original work, with minimal editing, and include the date and location where the photo was taken along with a brief description of the image. Each student can submit up to two photos.
Photos will be judged on their overall appearance, creativity, and photographic quality. The first place winner will take home $500. Second place will win $200, and the third place winner will receive $100. Winners will be announced Feb. 1, 2016, and 20 selected photos will be displayed during the Arbor Day celebration on Feb. 19, 2016.
Visit www.hort.uga.edu/research/arboretum for more information.
The UGA Arboretum Committee is composed of volunteers from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, the College of Environment and Design, the UGA Facilities Maintenance Division, the UGA Office of University Architects, UGA Athletics, and the Athens-Clarke County Environmental Coordinator.
Tree Campus USA, a national program created in 2008, honors colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals.