Auburn University hires first arborist

Published: October 20, 2015
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Alex Hedgepath recently joined Auburn as its first university arborist. This new position reports to the Facilities Management Landscape Services Department.

An Auburn alumnus, Hedgepath earned his bachelor's degree in forestry in 2012. After graduation, he worked in landscaping for the City of Fairhope, Alabama. Eventually, his work with the city transitioned completely to tree care and maintenance.

In his new role at Auburn, Hedgepath will oversee the care of all trees on campus, provide risk assessment, maintain a tree inventory and advise others on proper tree protection.

He said he is excited to be back on the Plains and looks forward to working with the university community.

"Auburn is where I fell in love with arboriculture and urban forestry so when the arborist position opened, I knew I wanted to come back," Hedgepath said.

Auburn's main campus is home to more than 8,000 trees and finding an arborist to care for them was a priority, said Steven Johnston, Facilities Management Landscape Services superintendent.

"We are fortunate to have Alex at Auburn," Johnston said. "We know his past experience has prepared him for this role where he will be responsible for the overall health and safety of our campus trees."

Hedgepath began work in his new position by laying out a few short-term goals.

"The university keeps inventory of more than 129 species of trees on campus so a large part of my job initially will be inventory," he said. "I will also focus on the health of our trees to make sure all is well with tree growth. I will begin by focusing on priority areas such as Samford Park and Toomer's Corner."

For the long-term, Hedgepath said he looks forward to improving tree health while continuing to expand the campus tree canopy.

"I want to continue to set Auburn apart as a Tree Campus USA recipient," he said. "There are many campuses I admire that don't have that distinction. I want to make sure that we maintain this national recognition."