By Presley Green
The grand opening of Volunteer State Community College’s Parris Power Memorial Arboretum will be Arbor Day, Friday, April 27, 2018 at the Duffer Plaza.
The Duffer Plaza is the area with a fountain between the Ramer Administration Building, Wood Campus Center and Warf Building.
An arboretum is a group of trees identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified Vol State as a Level II Arboretum.
“A certified arboretum must be open to the public with trees that are labeled, properly protected, and well maintained.” according to The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.
The certification was pursued by Cynthia Hernandez, former student, with the help of the science and math faculty members, specifically Parris Powers and Le-Ellen Dayhuff.
“Parris Powers was a former chemistry professor at Vol State who has since passed away. He was much loved. He truly loved environmental science. He worked with Cynthia Hernandez to begin the process of identifying trees for the arboretum and she continued, eventually naming it in his honor.” said Eric Melcher, coordinator of public relations and marketing at Vol State.
Around the campus, 62 trees have been identified and marked with silver plaques, indicating their place in the arboretum. Vol State will be producing a map for students and visitors to locate and view the trees included in the arboretum.
There is mention of better signage for the trees, possibly one that includes an internet link to easily help onlookers find out more information, according to the Vol State website.
The arboretum is already opened.
There will be many speakers at the grand opening including Hernandez and Dayhuff. Powers’s children Summer and Christian will also be speaking, along with Dr. Jerry Faulkner, president of Vol State, and a representative of The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.