Auburn University hosted its annual Tiger Giving Day on February 24, 2021. Tiger Giving Day is a 24- hour university-wide crowd funding initiative. During this social media campaign, more than 30 diverse projects from Auburn University were showcased. This year, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences celebrates the funding of three exciting projects: supporting minority students in natural resources and agriculture, planting a sustainable landscape at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center and the granting of industry-standard equipment to geospatial and forestry programs.
The campaign to “Support Minority Students in Natural Resources and Agriculture” raised $10,000, representing 125% of its total goal.
Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, or MANRRS, is a national organization of students and professionals of all racial and ethnic groups who take part in agriculture and natural resource-related careers.
The Auburn Chapter is a small group that wants to do big things. With this funding, MANNRS will be better equipped to recruit others to build membership, participate in new and innovative educational programs and initiatives, and refine members’ skill sets to stand out through career development conferences and mentorship programs.
“As membership in our chapter steadily increases, we are excited to utilize these funds to connect with more students across the university’s campus through such tools as new banners and recruitment strategies that effectively advertise the leadership initiatives and networking opportunities provided by MANRRS. Our expectations for Tiger Giving Day were exceeded, and we are thrilled and looking forward to utilizing the investment to make a difference,” said chapter advisor Michelle Cole.
The campaign for planting a new sustainable landscape in the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center, or KPNC, raised $11,730, representing 161% of its total goal.
An environmental education building is currently being constructed from cross-laminated timber, showcasing sustainable construction and design, and the intent is for the landscape to maintain the same standard.
The project will create a “Nature Preschool Courtyard” that will feature three distinct features including, an interactive outdoor learning space for Woodland Wonders preschool students, a rain garden that will mitigate run off while also creating a natural habit for native plants and wildlife and a welcoming landscape frontage for the building’s entrance that will highlight the beautiful and unique native plants of Alabama to encourage connection with the local environment.
“The KPNC is thrilled to have received these funds that will create even more beautiful spaces at the center and further engagement through the finished gardens that will inspire visitors of all ages to learn the importance of sustainability and environmental awareness,” said Michael Buckman, manager of the KPNC.
These outdoor gardens will be a critical part of the building’s purpose and engage and inspire visitors of all ages on the message of sustainability and environmental awareness, and the beauty of these finished gardens will appeal to all.
The Forestry and Geospatial and Environmental Informatics programs received funds to upgrade their equipment with industry-standard technology through a project that raised $39,581, representing 257% of the campaigns total goal.
Each year, students in Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences take part in summer practicum, an immersive experience that takes them out of the classroom and into the outdoors at the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center near Andalusia, Alabama. Forestry majors participate for eight weeks between their sophomore and junior years—living and working at the Dixon Center and taking courses that provide hands-on learning and field skills necessary for their chosen careers.
Understanding surveying is a foundational part of a Forestry student’s education, and with the funds raised, the school will be able to replace outdated, unreliable and cumbersome theodolites and tapes with four new Total Stations, instruments used in modern surveying that combine the use of electronic distance measuring devices with software running through a laptop or electronic data collector.
“The geospatial and forestry departments are more than pleased with the availability of funds that will allow this updated technology to be utilized in both the summer practicum and in the classroom for years to come. This development shows the growth of our programs and we are proud to be able to provide these tools to the future leaders of the geospatial and forestry industries,” said Tom Gallagher, the Regions Bank Professor of Forest Operations and instructor of the surveying class.
“These three projects will bring a renewed enthusiasm to students, faculty and stakeholders as the school expands through the uplifting of minority leadership through MANNRS, the increase of interactive communal spaces in the KPNC, and the improvements in instruments used in the field by geospatial and forestry students,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences.