KC Hosts Annual Arbor Day Celebration

April 28, 2015

Kaskaskia College held its annual Arbor Day celebration on the main campus on Friday, April 24 with guest speaker Tom Schwartz of Schwartz Orchard.

A celebration honoring Arbor Day and the Arboretum at Kaskaskia College took place on Friday, April 24, kicked-off by a presentation of songs from the children enrolled in the KC Children’s Learning Center, followed by guest speaker Tom Schwartz, owner and operator of Schwartz Orchards near Centralia.

Mr. Schwartz, who holds a Master’s degree in Plant and Soil Science from Southern Illinois University, gave a highly entertaining presentation on planting fruit trees and the perils and rewards of the orchard business.  Schwartz Orchards produces upwards of 30,000 gallons of apple cider for wholesale and retail markets, and includes two locations, both with roadside markets that feature fresh fruit, vegetables, apple cider and more.

Mr. Schwartz likened fruit trees to children, stressing that both require humility and patience to grow into their potential.

After Mr. Schwartz’ presentation, the celebration moved outdoors for the annual tree planting presentation, in which a prominent person or persons have a tree donated in their name to the KC Arboretum.

This year, in honor of his 14 years of service and dedication to Kaskaskia College, KC President Dr. Jim Underwood and his wife Roxie had an oak tree planted in their names in a prominent location on the front lawn of the Lifelong Learning Center on campus.  Dr. Underwood has announced his retirement in June 2015.

Susan Batchelor, Vice-president of Student Services, read a poem in honor of the event entitled “The Oak Tree” by Johnny Lee Rider, in which she compared the attributes of strength and resilience to Dr. Underwood during his tenure at the College.

The Kaskaskia College Arboretum has over 300 trees and shrubs that have been purchased and planted, each with a marker giving information on the species and on the persons or organizations that the tree or shrub was planted to honor.  The Arboretum and the annual Arbor Day celebrations have helped Kaskaskia College receive the Tree Campus USA designation for five consecutive years.  No other campus in the State of Illinois holds the Tree Campus USA designation, according to Dr. Underwood.

For more information on the KC Arboretum, including how to purchase a tree or shrub, please contact Suzanne Christ at 618-545-3069 or schrist@kaskaskia.edu.

Pictured:  Dr. Jim and Roxie Underwood, along with Dr. Dee Boswell and Tom Schwartz of Schwartz Orchards, at the tree planted in the Underwoods’ honor at the 2015 Arbor Day Celebration at Kaskaskia College.