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HPU celebrates Texas Arbor Day with planting of Shumard red oak

BROWNWOOD – January 3, 2024 – Howard Payne University’s December observance of Texas Arbor Day featured the planting of a new Shumard red oak tree on campus as well as a service project including 18 students and teachers from Cross Classical Academy (CCA).

Aaron Diaz, HPU’s grounds supervisor, organized and led the event.

“The event went beyond just commemorating Texas Arbor Day,” Diaz said. “Our annual tree-planting ceremony also celebrates our grounds department’s daily focus, hard work and dedication to enriching the landscape of our beautiful campus and the Brownwood community.”

HPU representatives were assisted by CCA students as they placed a Shumard red oak tree, donated by Tim Brasher of Brasher & Co., in the prepared spot and filled the hole. The tree was planted near the Thompson Academic Complex and the English building on the HPU campus. Four additional trees were later planted in the area.

In addition to the tree-planting ceremony, students from CCA in third through sixth grades toured campus and learned about the trees of Texas through guided learning content from Texas A&M Forest Service. They also learned basic tree terminology and the tree life cycle.

Diaz shared about HPU’s responsibilities and focus as a university designated as a Tree Campus. Students identified tree numbers located on several trees on campus and then referenced the inventory book to find information about each one’s species, condition and location on the tree map.

“It was a joy to welcome CCA students to help plant this year’s tree and tour our campus while learning and asking questions about the many trees cared for by our department,” Diaz shared.

HPU’s dedication to caring for and planting trees each year has earned the university recognition from the Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree Campus Higher Education. Tree Campus Higher Education is a program that promotes the planting of trees on college campuses across the country. HPU first became a recognized campus in 2016. In the state of Texas, HPU is one of 22 recognized universities and one of 410 in the U.S.

For more information about Howard Payne University, visit


Cutline 1: HPU recently celebrated Texas Arbor Day with the planting of a new Shumard red oak tree on campus. Pictured from left are HPU’s Roger Dewell, director of facilities; Mike Rodgers, vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer; and Aaron Diaz, grounds supervisor. Special guests at the ceremony were students from Cross Classical Academy.

Cutline 2: Students from Cross Classical Academy enjoyed participating in the planting of a Shumard red oak for HPU’s observation of Texas Arbor Day.