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Riverside, Calif. (Nov. 24, 2014) -- About 40 students, faculty and other volunteers celebrated Arbor Day by planting 10 trees at California Baptist University Nov. 15. It was CBU's first Arbor Day observance.

Although Arbor Day traditionally occurs in the spring, CBU celebrated early to become part of Tree Campus USA, said Christopher Carlberg, senior environmental science major and president of the Environmental Science Club. Tree Campus USA is a program by the Arbor Day Foundation that recognizes campuses that effectively manage their trees, promote student involvement and develop connectivity with the community through forestry efforts.  Carlberg said there will be another tree planting closer to Arbor Day on April 24. He was pleased with the turnout at the first event.

"It's good to get out here and get everyone working," Carlberg said. "Our goal as a club is to engage and learn about the environment. So if people can learn how to plant a tree, that's a big plus."

Though there were minor setbacks -- mostly due to unplanned encounters of shovels and pipes -- the group finished planting the Jacaranda and Chinese pistache trees in less than two hours.

The group was broken into teams of five or six students. Students with more experience were quick to help other groups with the project.

Dr. Bonjun Koo, professor of environmental science and adviser of the club, facilitated the effort. Through encouraging words and constant teaching moments, Koo kept his troops of volunteers going.

"All of us realize the importance of trees, and we are proud to participate in the first Arbor Day event on campus," Koo said.

Danielle Brubaker, senior English major, become aware of the event through the campus-wide email.

"I got excited because I have never planted a tree before," Brubaker said. "I wanted to participate in this so I could come back in 20 years and show my kids and friends that I helped plant these trees on campus."

When the last tree was put into the ground, a prayer was said over the campus.

To Brubaker this event showed that "we have students who not only care about each other but care about God's earth, who care about making it better and preserving it and showing the city of Riverside that our campus is gorgeous."