Students, Faculty, Staff
Help Flight 93 Memorial Take Root
May 26, 2014
SHANKSVILLE– In an
ongoing partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and Penn State
DuBois, students, faculty and staff are helping a national memorial take root.
Recently 12 students from the Penn State DuBois Wildlife Technology
Program served as team leaders for a full weekend of tree planting at the site
where Flight 93 crashed on the morning of September 11, 2001, in Shanksville,
Joined by faculty and staff, the students used their
expertise in environmental stewardship to lead dozens of other volunteers
during Plant a Tree at Flight 93, a project intended to reforest a
portion of the site that makes up the Flight 93 Memorial.
"I was floored when
they called and asked if we would be the support team leaders for this year’s
planting," said Senior Instructor of Wildlife Technology Keely Roen.
"It's an honor just to be at the memorial, it's an honor to help at
all with the planting, but to have them trust us enough to be a support team
and give us this responsibility, there's no way to put that into words."
With Keely Roen, her
husband Garrett, a campus admission counselor, and Stacy Foster, a lab
technician for the wildlife program, the students oversaw the planting of
20,500 seedlings over two days in April. They helped to sort various
species of seedlings, prepare them for planting, and made recommendations on
which species would thrive in particular areas of the property due to
environmental conditions at a given site. Some species, for instance,
will flourish in wet areas, while others prefer drier environments.
Depending on the conditions of the area, teams planted such species of
trees as hemlock, chestnut, white pine, red oak, and more. Their aim is
to create a forest mixed with hardwood and evergreen trees.
Flight 93 Memorial
Superintendent Jeffery Reinbold praised the work of the students in a thank you
letter sent to Keely Roen following the Plant a Tree at Flight 93 event.
He said, "We can only offer our thanks for your institution's
continued partnership and for each and every one of your students who served as
support staff, mentors, and most importantly, as educators to the volunteers
who plant the seedlings.
"Your efforts will
be remembered by those who visit this landscape to reflect on the actions of 40
individuals who turned a common field one day into field of honor
The impact of their work
was not lost on student Sara Heverly. She said, "My favorite part
about planting was knowing several years down the road I would be able to take
my children to the memorial and tell them that I was one of the volunteers that
helped plant all those trees. It will be such a great feeling as it has already
That sentiment was shared
by Garrett Roen, who as a campus staff volunteer, experienced the same
satisfaction as the students.
"By taking part in
planting these trees, I'll be able to go back 20 years from now and say that
this forest is here now because a team I was on planted it. That's a lasting
Those at the NPS were
confident in the skills and knowledge the Penn State DuBois students possess
due to previous work conducted by students at the site. Not only have students
in the Wildlife Technology program participated in reforestation efforts at the
memorial site before, but last summer students also conducted an invasive
species survey there. Through an internship program, three students were chosen
to work directly with the National Park Service (NPS), at the Flight 93
Memorial site. They conducted a survey on the memorial property that
surrounds the crash site to identify invasive and noxious species of plant
life. They then provided GPS coordinates for the locations of the plants they
found. They then recommended action plans the NPS can take to eradicate the
species for the benefit of native species and the overall environment.
This was the third year
for Plant a Tree at Flight 93, which will continue annually until the
NPS deems that reforestation goals have been adequately met. So far, 73 acres
of the site have been planted. Students and faculty from the Penn State DuBois
Wildlife Technology program have already been asked to participate as team
leaders for next year.
"I'm so proud of
the students," said Keely Roen. "They did a really great job
and even exceeded our expectations."
Photo: Flight 93 Plant
student Sara Heverly plants a seedling on the Flight 93 Memorial property in