COLUMBUS, Ga. (Oct. 30, 2018) - Fort Benning Soldiers, their Family members and members of the community gathered Oct. 27 to plant trees on Fort Benning Road at Columbus, Georgia.

Volunteers from the local environmental non-profit organization Trees Columbus and Soldiers from the Armor Basic Officer Leaders Course partnered to plant the first 20 out of 100 trees in celebration of Fort Benning's centennial over the weekend.

"We are excited to be out here today to start our centennial tree planting with Fort Benning," said Dorothy McDaniel, executive director of Trees Columbus. "This is a great place to start with our 100 trees. It's an entrance to Fort Benning, it is something that visitors and residents of Fort Benning and the Soldiers see every day as they drive on and off the installation."

Partnering with Trees Columbus allows Fort Benning Soldiers and their Family members to partake in the centennial celebration. A variety of oak species in 15- and 30-gallon containers were planted along Fort Benning Road. The goal is to provide cleaner air, create habitats for wildlife and enhance the beauty of Fort Benning as a landmark for the community to enjoy during the next centennial.

"We looked at several places on Fort Benning, and this was one area that was void of trees," said George Baker, arborist for Trees Columbus. "Our goal in the next 100 years is to watch these trees grow and to keep planting more because trees do die eventually, and the only way to plant for the future is to start planting now."

Trees Columbus was founded in 2000 and since then has led an effort to protect Columbus' urban tree canopy.

"Planting trees is one of the three missions of Trees Columbus," said Ed Kinner, member of Trees Columbus board of directors. "These trees are small now but will grow to be large stately trees in 50 to 100 years. They will be good for climate change, for the environment, for visual representation and more."

ABOLC students from Fort Benning and Family members contributed to the planting of the trees for various reasons.

"I was told the Spanish mosses were dying and that is what makes Fort Benning Road so beautiful," said 2nd Lt. Alexis Bernasek. "It is important to keep that image, and I will be back in December to plant the remaining 80 trees"

Soldiers such as 2nd Lts. Benjamin Hepburn and Nathan St. Croix found humor as they planted a variety of oaks.

"We are planting willow oak, overcup oak and live oak," said St.Croix.

"We are also planting nuttall oak because 'not all oaks' are created equal," followed Hepburn.

An additional 80 trees will be planted in December to complete the centennial tree planting at Fort Benning.

To learn more about Fort Benning Centennial, visit the "Related Links" section on this page.