Wednesday, December 20, 2023
  Around Campus

By Regina Perez

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – UTRGV commemorated another year of being designated as a Tree Campus Higher Education institution during this year’s Arbor Day celebration.

The Tree Campus Higher Education designation recognizes colleges and universities around the country that align themselves with sustainable forestry management and practices.

Known as the tree planter’s holiday, Arbor Day is a day for people to come together in recognition of the wonders of trees. The celebration was held in November on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus.

UTRGV celebrates Arbor Day
A tree planting ceremony commemorating Texas Arbor Day organized by the UTRGV Office for Sustainability on Monday, Nov. 20, 2023 at the Chapel Lawn in Edinburg, Texas. The City of Edinburg presented a proclamation marking the occasion and UTRGV is designated Tree Campus USA for the 10th year in a row by the Arbor Day Foundation. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

“Every year we come together and plant trees, it is a symbol of our commitment to a sustainable future, a small act that will go a long way,” said UTRGV Chief Sustainability Officer Marianella Franklin during Arbor Day opening remarks. “This year is special as it marks our tenth Tree Campus Higher Education designation.”

Dr. Alexis Racelis, assistant professor at the School of Earth Environmental and Marine Sciences, announced the return of tree inventory projects in his urban forestry courses, during the ceremony.

“Ten years ago, students in my urban forestry course conducted a tree inventory, which helped the university get its first Tree Campus Higher Education designation,” he said. “It is now time to assess the changes in forestry throughout the years, a great service-learning opportunity.”

The ceremony concluded with the UTRGV facilities grounds and maintenance crew planting a Nacahuita tree on the Chapel Lawn on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus.

To learn more about UTRGV’s Tree Campus USA designation and UTRGV Arbor Day, visit the Office for Sustainability website.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.