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UCF students, alumni and staff are invited to attend a Welcome Back Garden Celebration on Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for an interactive tour of UCF's Arboretum.

The free kick-off event will be led by Arboretum staff, and will include hands-on planting and seeding activities in the garden — which is dedicated to the advancement of ecological knowledge and environmental support.

The tour will be followed by a pizza social in the Nature Pavilion, and Arboretum coordinator Jennifer Elliott said the staff hopes to introduce the UCF community to resources available in the program.

“Our biggest expectation is that people have fun,” Elliott said. “We want people to come out and get engaged and know that we are here to support them academically and as community.”

The Arboretum, located behind the Harris Corporation Engineering Center, supports a student-run community garden that donates produce to Knights Pantry on a weekly basis, as well as supports campus landscapes and hosts free yoga practices at the UCF Oak Hammock.

This semester, the UCF Arboretum will additionally be partnering with UCF’s Research and Mentoring Program to provide a paid ecological research opportunity. Applications are now being accepted for full-time UCF students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 desiring to pursue a graduate education in biology, ecology or environmental science.

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Daniela Marin is the Entertainment Editor for the Central Florida Future.

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