On Tuesday, February 12, 2019, East Georgia State College held an Arbor Day Celebration on their Swainsboro campus. The celebration, which began at 11 a.m.. featured the planting of a Franklinia alatamaha tree at Ezra Pond. The tree was dedicated to Barbara Green, Director Emeritus of Financial Aid, and the ceremony was attended by many of her friends, former coworkers, and family members.
Norma Kennedy, Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement, recognized Green in a short presentation prior to the planting of the tree, which was carried out by Dr. David Chevalier, Chair of the EGSC Biology Program, and Alex Ballard, Regional Specialist with the Georgia Forestry Commission. The tree was donated by the Glad Garden Club of Swainsboro, and member Helen Center placed a plaque commemorating the dedication, which was donated by Advanced Metal Components, Inc.
After the ceremony, the EGSC Tree Campus Committee, along with the Georgia Forestry Commission, gave away seedlings to help promote not only the Tree Campus initiative on campus, but also the Bee Campus USA initiative. The trees given away were redbuds, tulip trees, yellow poplar and red maple, as well as some bald cypress and willow from the GFC.
This Arbor Day event was part of EGSC’s efforts as a Tree Campus USA recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation. This program helps colleges and universities around the country establish and sustain healthy forests.
About Barbara Green:
Green was a long-time, faithful employee of East Georgia State College, and began her 35-year career in 1977 when the college was known as Emanuel County Junior College. She spent her entire career in the Office of Financial Aid, undeniably one of the most stressful working environments at the college. However, even up to her retirement, Green viewed it as a privilege and an opportunity to help students reach their goal of obtaining a college degree.
During Green’s three and a half decades at the college, many changes occurred, including the increase of the student body from around 300 to over 2,500. During that time, the financial aid processes were not automated and the office was only staffed by three individuals. As an access institution serving many first generation students who were mystified by the financial aid process, Green personally assisted a large majority of students each semester to ensure their financial aid awards were entered and processed correctly. Her hands-on approach enhanced the college’s learning environment because it enabled students to focus on their academics and lessened their financial stress of paying for college.
Despite the lack of automation, impeccable office procedures and her attention to details always led to positive financial aid audits and compliance of federal and state guidelines. This is an astonishing accomplishment considering the complexity and labor-intensive nature of the work, especially at the beginning of each semester when Green and her mighty staff of two manually completed and reviewed over 2000 financial aid application folders.
Green retired in December of 2008 and was granted the status of Director Emeritus. She passed away on August 4, 2018.
About the Franklinia alatamaha tree:
The Franklinia alatamaha, commonly called a Franklin tree, is named after Benjamin Franklin, and the epithet name refers to the area in which it was discovered near the Altamaha River. John Bartram, Royal Botanist for North America in 1764, and his son, William, discovered the tree growing in a 2-3 acre tract along the banks of the Altamaha River in southeastern Georgia. It has never been observed growing in any other place than along the Altamaha River. In a return trip in 1773, William Bartram collected seed from this site and brought it back to the Bartram's garden in Philadelphia where the tree was successfully grown. This tree has been extinct in the wild since 1803, and all plants derive from the seeds collected by Bartram. It is not known why the tree disappeared from the wild, but theories include a cotton pathogen in the soil, carried downstream through erosion from cotton plantations, was the main cause.
The tree is has camellia-like, cup-shaped, five-petaled and sweetly fragrant white flowers that bloom in late summer to early fall. The flowers have egg-yolk-yellow center stamens. The tree’s narrow, oblong, glossy dark green leaves will turn orange, red and purple in autumn.