Cool, overcast, fixin’ to rain. The weather couldn’t be better for planting trees, which is why Louisiana celebrates Arbor Day in January. Over at UL, arborist and horticulture professor Jim Foret is planting a Florida Leucothoe by Hamilton Hall to celebrate. Native to Louisiana’s Florida parishes, the evergreen shrub blushes bronze in the fall, and fills the air with a honey scent when it blooms with creamy white urn-shaped flowers in the spring.

Foret’s big news is that UL has just gotten word that the university has been named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation. To receive the designation, the university has to commit to a program of tree care, name a tree board, execute a plan for planting and of course celebrate Arbor Day. Having a canopy of 100-year-old oaks and a collection of mature hollies, many of them planted by Foret’s late father, Dr. James Foret, who was dean of the Agriculture Department at UL in the 1980s, didn’t hurt the university’s chances to represent the urban forest here in Lafayette.

At 2 p.m., the Lafayette Garden Club will be planting along Camellia Boulevard near St. Barnabas Church. TreesAcadiana has donated seedlings to Lafayette Parish schools for tree plantings on campuses. And tomorrow at 9 a.m. TreesAcadiana and Jake Parra’s Eagle Scout Project will be planting trees on Louisiana  Avenue, north of I-10, between Pont de Mouton and Merryview Farm Rosd.  Everybody’s invited to participate, bring shovels, gloves and rakes. Happy Arbor Day. 

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