From Savannah to the tree tops

I AM SAVANNAH BOLD

From Savannah to the tree tops

Get back to your roots. Live oaks. Spanish moss. Nearly every street, square, park, and plaza in Savannah is peppered with them. These florae are more than just summer shady spots. Marine and environmental sciences professor Dr. Sue Ebanks says they’re Savannah icons. And they’re worth protecting.

Dr. Ebanks is a no-holds-barred, get-the-job-done kind of person. So when a partnership with nonprofit Savannah Tree Foundation sprouted, she went for it. “We have 100-year-old trees and need younger ones to help fill in the canopy once they die. This is the next generation.”

For this Savannah native and SSU alumna, the partnership was a natural fit. And her go-for-it spirit moved people to action. She – plus faculty, staff, alumni, Environmental Science Club members, and a few locals – planted more than 75 trees along the banks of campus water bodies like the marsh, canal, and retention ponds.

“When you teach people about the relationships between humans and the environment, the lightbulbs go off. They say, ‘I’ll help plant! I’ll lay mulch! I’ll water the trees!’”

“In Savannah, our trees are one of our legacies, our monuments.” – Dr. Sue Ebanks

That type of community involvement is at the heart of so much that Dr. Ebanks does. Right now, she’s giving back to her hometown through grant-funded projects. Like a collaboration among all four SSU colleges and schools to help bring efforts such as education, environmental management plans, and coastal emergency training to underserved populations.

Dr. Ebanks is also working with nearby Thunderbolt as the city develops its Greenway project, a lush jogging path that would run right beside SSU’s canal. The goal: Tie it to efforts to build a campus marsh walk that will help elevate arbor and marsh education for students and University neighbors.

And from there? Well, she plans to keep going – and growing. “I don’t sit around and wait for things to happen. I’ve always been one to go for it. No guts, no glory.” Seriously Impressive


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