The ribbon-cutting ceremony at Stephen F. Austin State University celebrating the recent designation of Nacogdoches as the "Garden Capital of Texas."

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at SFA Wednesday celebrated Nacogdoches' recent designation as the Garden Capital of Texas. Nacogdoches was officially named the "Garden Capital of Texas" last spring as the result of a cooperative effort between state legislators, the City of Nacogdoches, SFA Gardens staff and Friends Advisory Board, the Chamber of Commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureau and others. The SFA Gardens comprise the 10-acre Mast Arboretum, the 8-acre Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden, the 42-acre Pineywoods Native Plant Center and the 8-acre Gayla Mize Garden.

The SFA Gardens also serve as a living outdoor classroom for horticulture students in the renowned Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Access to these diverse gardens, along with the quality instruction offered by the SFA faculty, produces highly sought-after graduates who are well-prepared for careers in many specialized fields. About 17,000 students and other visitors participate in SFA's environmental education programs each year.

The new designation makes official what we in Nacogdoches and at SFA have known for generations - our gardens are an important part of what makes our city and our university so unique and appealing.