The University of Troy Arboretum received a $25,000 grant from the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) Charitable Donation Program for continued improvements to the grounds of the arboretum.
Dr. Alvin Diamond, professor of biology and director of the arboretum, said the funds will be used to replace the bridge to the island of Mullis Pond, remove fallen trees, purchase and install a floating jetty for school use , planting native wetland plants around the pond and installing garbage cans.
“We greatly appreciate all the help we have received from Hyundai,” he said. “This will really help to improve the arboretum and make it more accessible, not only for classes and students, but also for the general public and citizens of Troy.”
HMMA’s charitable giving program focuses its efforts on improving education, supporting cultural arts, celebrating diversity, protecting the environment, and promoting health, fitness, and Hobbies.
On Friday, October 14, HMMA officials visited the Troy campus to view the arboretum and present the $25,000 grant.
“Investments in education can follow traditional or innovative paths to enrich a student’s learning experience,” said Robert Burns, vice president and chief administrative officer of HMMA. “HMMA has chosen to support the University of Troy’s plans to improve the arboretum as it will benefit students and citizens of the surrounding community. We are happy to assist in ways that further develop the outdoor learning and recreation experiences that will ultimately strengthen each visitor’s connection to the Pocosin Nature Reserve environment.
The arboretum spans 75 acres and includes seven and a half miles of nature trails, over 500 identified plant species, a pond, an outdoor classroom and an indoor classroom. Earlier this year, custody of the arboretum was transferred under the wing of Diamond and TROY’s College of Arts and Sciences. Since then, and with the help of a team of volunteers from across the University and the community, a tremendous amount of work has been done to restore the grounds to their former glory.
“The arboretum is a gem, and we are working hard to amplify not only the educational opportunities we can provide for our students and the public, but also the natural beauty of this area,” said Dr. Steven Taylor, Dean of the College. of Arts. and Science. “It’s a huge contribution from Hyundai, and it’s very rewarding to have someone in the community supporting our activities and helping to provide better opportunities for our students.”
Classes are currently taking place in the newly renovated outdoor classroom, and an area has been cleared for a pollinator garden for bees, butterflies and other important pollinators. Future upgrades will include the installation of information kiosks and two half-mile self-guided nature trails.