Nature & Ecosystems

Florida Arbor Day Celebration

In January, FIU celebrated Florida Arbor Day by tagging selected tress with education tags that highlight the environmental benefits of each tree. Most of us are aware that trees provide us with fruit, timber, shade and a place to hang a swing, but there are so many more benefits that trees provide us with that may be hard to see just by looking at them.

The Benefit of Trees

Using the National Tree Benefits Calculator we have calculated for each tree, the amount of storm water runoff reduced, carbon reduction, electrical energy savings, property value increase, and overall benefits. This data was displayed on 35 tree tags throughout MMC, BBC, and EC that were donated by the Morton Arboretum during the week of Florida Arbor Day.

Check out the benefits list below of our featured trees.

MMC Tree Benefit List
BBC Tree Benefit List
EC Tree Benefit List

The History of Arbor Day

On January 4th, 1872, Julius Sterling Morton proposed a tree appreciation day called Arbor Day. On Arbor Day people are encouraged to plant trees to remind themselves of how beneficial they are to their daily lives. On April 10, 1872, the first unofficial Arbor Day took place in Nebraska in which an estimated 1,000,000 trees were planted throughout the state. After a few years of celebrating Arbor Day, it was officially considered a legal holiday in Nebraska on April 22, 1885. Since then, Arbor Day is recognized nationally.

Today, National Arbor Day is on the Last Friday of April in which 28 states celebrate. The remaining states celebrate Arbor Day on a day that best coincides with their growing season. Florida’s Arbor Day is celebrated on the third Friday of January.

Learn more about the History of Arbor Day at the Arbor Day Foundation.

Certified Tree Campus

In 2010, Florida International University (FIU) became the first school in Florida to get certified as a Tree Campus USA with the Arbor Day Foundation. This certification recognizes FIU’s Modesto Maidique Campus (MMC) and Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC) for using best management practices to maintain a healthy urban tree canopy and for engaging the university community in environmental stewardship. View a digital version of our Campus Tree Guide to find out what types of trees we have on campus and where to find them.


President’s Lake Planting

In Spring 2016, approximately 2,000 native aquatic plants were incorporated into the lake landscape between University Apartment’s and the President’s House. The generous funding for plant material and installation was directly handled thru The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. Their goal in partnering with FIU was to enhance aquatic wildlife habitat and community recreation. Since the planting, Housing has added improvements, such as seating along the Northern lake edge and Facilities Grounds Maintenance has been very cooperative working with the Office of University Sustainability throughout the project.

The FIU Nature Preserve (MMC)

The FIU Nature Preserve is an 11-acre environmental education facility that represents the Florida Everglades. It was founded in 1978 to educate FIU students and community members on Florida’s natural history and ecology.

Organic Garden (MMC)

The Garden was established in 2009 by the Department of Earth & Environment for Agroecology Program students to conduct research. It contains a shade house, nursery, herb garden, fruit orchard, and eight large vegetable beds.

Palmetum (MMC)

The Palmetum, located north of the Green Library, hosts a great collection of tropical palm trees. It has recently been outfitted with over 100 tree tags, 15 trail signs, and 2 shaded picnic tables. Every single one of our 60+ species is clearly marked. Along with our informative interpretive signage, self-guided tours are a breeze; aiding anyone undertaking the study of palms, novice or expert. View our Palmetum Guide.

Henington Island (MMC)

Henington Island is a small, forested, island, situated in the center of a lake on the north side of campus, by 8th St. and 112th Ave. The tropical trees on the island are meant to recreate a tropical rainforest environment. Although the island is completely inaccessible to visitors, the surrounding freshwater wetlands, including cypress/maple swamp habitat are open to the public for viewing.


Biscayne Bay Nature Trail (BBC)

FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus (BBC) lies along the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay, a prime location for studying marine plants and animals. The Biscayne Bay Nature Trail is a 3-mile long trail that traverses the campus’s upland and aquatic ecosystems, including mangrove forests. View the Biscayne Bay Trail Guide.

Mangrove Restoration (BBC)

The mangrove habitat is an important coastal buffer that offers valuable protection from wind, waves, and tides, especially during storm events. The complex root structures also provide excellent spawning habitat for fish, crustaceans, birds, and reptiles. The mangrove restoration project at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus began in September 2009 when propagules from the red mangroves were collected and replanted as part of a Biscayne Bay beach clean-up. Led by the School of Environment Arts & Society, the propagules are initially grown indoors in plastic cups until they are ready to be planted by FIU community volunteers.