Mesa Community College’s arboretum committee held a monthly volunteer day on September 9 that connected students with unique landscapes found on the Southern and Dobson campus.
Students can volunteer on the second Friday of spring and fall semester months. Community members interested in the outdoors get to learn to care for a biodiverse collection of plant life.
The Rose Garden and native West desert region of the campus highlight only a small amount of environments that allow students to be engaged with nature.
“It’s really something special to come to campus every week and see the same plants and see how they change over the seasons, whose pollinating them, and just experience desert flora and fauna while going to school,” said Sierra McMartin, a biology student and tutor at MCC.
Students like McMartin make up volunteers in which the arboretum relies on to maintain almost 200 different species of trees, plants, succulents and cacti.
Volunteers help trim trees and plants for their appropriate season, along with planting new additions to the arboretum and learning how to care for their growth. They also help keep the campus clean and free of litter and weeds.
Arboretum volunteer days are open to any current or former students, faculty, or members of the community. No experience is required. To volunteer for the next arboretum event on Friday, October 14, RSVP on MCC’s website.
“I love seeing students take pride in our campus”, said Sean Whitcomb, Life Science professor and co-director of the Arboretum.
In 2021, The Arbor Day Foundation selected the college to be a “Tree Campus” to show the positive impact of urban trees. MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus is the only community college in Arizona to be accredited with this designation.
The work of the Arboretum Committee focuses on hands-on life science education. The campus acts as its own facility that provides insightful research on how to best implement plant life into our urban environments.
Sean Whitcomb has already helped form the early stages of plant surveys for Phoenix College and South Mountain Community College.
The arboretum’s collection on the Southern and Dobson campus is free and open to the public. Maps of the entire plant collection and a list of future events are available here.