UWF in the Community

UWF Arbor Day Market celebrates natural beauty of Pensacola campus, recognition by Arbor Day Foundation

On March 2, the University of West Florida hosted the inaugural Arbor Day Market, inviting students, faculty, staff and community members to enjoy the University’s 1,600-acre Pensacola campus and celebrate its designation by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus Higher Education. The event overlooked the University’s magnificent Camellia Garden.

Attendees were treated to free native species trees made possible by International Paper. A total of 300 persimmon, river birch, flatwood plum and crabapple trees in one-gallon containers were distributed.

Whitney Fike ’07, regional communications manager at International Paper said the event aligns with the company’s commitment to making the world better, safer and more sustainable.

“Partnering with the University of West Florida for the Arbor Day Market reflects our dedication to fostering a greener, more sustainable future for all,” said Fike.

Other activities included guided nature trail walking tours, advice on native plants and Florida-friendly landscaping from master gardeners certified by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Escambia County, forest land-management recommendations by Florida Forest Service, plant-based and plant-related products by Native Plant Company and a kids craft table.

“I’m so glad UWF hosted the Arbor Day Market,” said attendee and UWF employee Brett Haskell. “It was a great opportunity to meet with others who have an interest in environmental advocacy and to educate others on the importance of conservation. I would like to see more events like this in the future.”

The event also celebrated UWF’s commitment to maintaining and managing the health of its campus conservation. The University has earned the Tree Campus Higher Education recognition annually since 2019. Tree Campus Higher Education honors colleges, universities and their leaders for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff, students and community members in conservation goals. 

To obtain the distinction each year, UWF meets five core standards for effective campus forest management outlined by the Arbor Day Foundation, including the establishment of a tree advisory committee, a campus tree-care plan, dedicated annual expenditures for its campus tree program, an Arbor Day observance and sponsorship of student service learning projects.

“UWF’s Pensacola campus was designed to showcase its natural beauty and topography and be a centerpiece for the community,” said Jeff Etheridge, UWF’s director of buildings and grounds management. “The UWF Arbor Day Market was a great way to celebrate the grandeur of our campus and our designation by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree Campus Higher Education.”

The UWF Arbor Day Market was presented by the University of West Florida in partnership with International Paper, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Escambia County, Florida Forest Service and the Native Plant Company.