Nearly 60 Middle Tennessee State University students turned out Tuesday to lend a hand in protecting the environment through planting trees and removing litter along a local creek.
MTSU alumnus John McFadden, executive director Tennessee Environmental Council, instructs students taking part in MTSU's Alternative Fall Break on Tuesday,Oct. 16. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)
The Tennessee Environmental Council partnered with the MTSU Stormwater Program and the city of Murfreesboro for the tree-planting event along Garrison Creek in east Murfreesboro.
Not only did students help plant about 250 trees along the creek bed, which runs behind the Kroger property on Lascassas Pike, they provided enough manpower to also allow the removal of a significant amount of litter.
Such efforts ultimately protect the local groundwater by removing pollutants that would make their way into local streams otherwise.
Jacqueline Smith, a junior public relations major alsominoring in health care services, was among the motivated students who wanted to serve during their last day of fall break, some garnering community service credit for their classes.
“I really enjoyed myself because I learned how to properly plant a tree,” Smith said, then added with a smile: “I learned that trees are ‘tree-mendous’ for our community.”
John McFadden, executive director of the Tennessee Environmental Council, said such events through the nonprofit conservation organization depend on volunteer assistance, as well as partnerships with entities such as the city of Murfreesboro.
“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers that MTSU provided,” McFadden said. “In the process, we’re educating them and the community about the value of nature resources. For example, homes that are closer to this stream, as we restore it, are going to be worth more than those homes that are farther away.”
Jackie Victory, director of the MTSU Office of Leadership and Service, said the student volunteer effort was part of the “Alternative Fall Break” in which her office provides community service opportunities for students interested in doing something outside the norm during their brief respite from classes.
“It’s open to any student to participate,” she said. “We helped plant trees today … It was nice. Our students were able to come off campus and do some work.”