Volunteers plant future forest at Flight 93 National Memorial | TribLIVE.com
Regional

Volunteers plant future forest at Flight 93 National Memorial

Mary Pickels

The sun was elusive, but energy and muscle were in abundance Friday as hundreds of volunteers climbed hills above the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County.

About 400 people were expected to plant 13,600 seedlings and native shrubs over 20 acres Friday, which was Arbor Day, and Saturday as part of the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event.

The reforestation area also will be seeded with a native pollinator seed mix to increase the diversity of native plants and improve the wildlife habitat on the former surface coal mine land.

United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a nearby field on 9/11 as some of the 40 passengers and crew struggled with terrorists believed to have been planning to use the aircraft in an attack on the nation’s capital. Everyone aboard died.

Looking toward the future

Among the many volunteers heading up hill from the Tower of Voices parking lot were several dozen Somerset Trust Bank employees.

Many project veterans grabbed tools and buckets filled with seedlings and split into teams.

“I’ve done this individually, as part of the (Somerset Trust) group and with my family. I’ve come every year, and I’ve been all over the place. It’s neat to see the growth,” said Wendy Griffith of Johnstown.

She recalls being at work on 9/11, and company employees heading out to take food and drinks to bring to those already helping at the scene.

“It feels like extended family,” Griffith said of the planting effort.

Dave O’Barto, a consulting forester from Latrobe, said he has volunteered “seven or eight times.”

He’s helped plant with members of a forestry fraternity from his alma mater, Penn State, in the past.

“And I’m local,” he said.

Planting partners Terry Hubbard and Kristi Japalucci, both Somerset Trust Bank employees from Johnstown, were back for their second year planting trees.

They joked with Sara Fitzsimmons, The American Chestnut Foundation director of restoration, as she teased them about which end of the seedlings went into the ground.

“We try to put them 8 feet apart,” Hubbard said, as the two moved through the muddy field.

“The fact of knowing what happened here in 2001 and being able to be part of restoring this area — there is just a sense of pride,” he said.

“I think it’s just a great event. It’s important to be a part of it. In 10 years we can say, ‘We planted that row.’ It’s kind of like a legacy,” Japalucci added.

A living memorial

The annual reforestation event typically reaches volunteer capacity soon after it’s announced, said Donna Gibson, board president of Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial.

The Friends’ goal is to plant 150,000 seedlings over 10 years, helping to restore natural habitats, increase floral resources and create nesting sites.

This year’s tree species include American chestnut; white, pitch and red pine; red, white and chestnut oak; red spruce; and black cherry.

The trees also will cultivate a living memorial at the site, planners say.

The project is expected to conclude within the next two or three years.

Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Frank Rohrer of Clinton County, with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, places a pine seeding in the soil Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Volunteers Wendy Griffith of Johnstown, (from left) Dave O’Barto of Latrobe, Kelley Kelly of Garrett, Somerset County, and Jolene Smith of Friedens, Somerset County, participate in the Plant A Tree at Flight 93 event at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Friday, April 26, 2019.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Volunteers Wendy Griffith of Johnstown, (from left) Dave O’Barto of Latrobe, Kelley Kelly of Garrett, Somerset County, and Jolene Smith of Friedens, Somerset County, participate in the Plant A Tree at Flight 93 event at the Flight 93 National Memorial on Friday, April 26, 2019.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Seedlings and tools await volunteers Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 Plant A Tree event.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
Seedlings and tools await volunteers Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 Plant A Tree event.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
A volunteer digs deep and drops a seedling Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial’s Plant A Tree event.
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Mary Pickels | Tribune-Review
A volunteer digs deep and drops a seedling Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial’s Plant A Tree event.
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Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings into the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees2-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings into the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees2-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings into the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Kayleigh Dumas and Jared Bundy of Pittsburgh place pine seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees4-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Volunteers place pine seedlings in the soil Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees8-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Caitlin Glagola of Williamsport looks for a spot for a pine seedling to be planted Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees3-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kristi Yowell of Hope Mills, N.C, and Jan Blanchetti of Mineral Point (left) place seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees3-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kristi Yowell of Hope Mills, N.C, and Jan Blanchetti of Mineral Point (left) place seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees3-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Kristi Yowell of Hope Mills, N.C, and Jan Blanchetti of Mineral Point (left) place seedlings in the ground Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees1-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees1-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees1-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program. Curtis Robinson of Clairton followed by Brandon Carroll of Mt. Washington hike down the slopes after planting pine seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees9-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Volunteers Caitlin Glagola of Williamsport and Frank Rohrer of Clinton County place pine seedlings into the soil Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees6-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Indiana University of Pennsylvania students and volunteers Kaitlin Knopsnider (left) and Shelby Zakrzewski plant seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
1037058_web1_GTR-Flight93Trees5-042719
Shane Dunlap | Tribune-Review
Volunteers work on the slopes planting seedlings Friday, April 26, 2019, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County. About 400 volunteers will be spread out over 22 acres Friday and Saturday for the eighth annual Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event. Over 116,000 native Pennsylvania seedlings have been planted through the volunteer program.
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