in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Biology are working to evaluate
the reforestation efforts at the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville.
memorial is the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which was
hijacked in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
majors Ian Forte, Ross Street, Tarentum, and Cassandra Krul, Pike Drive,
Cranberry Township, under the direction of biology faculty members Jeff Larkin and
Mike Tyree, are evaluating the success of the reforestation project.
project to evaluate the health and growth of the trees is funded through a
$5,000 grant from the National Park Foundation. A total of 70,000 trees were
planted at the site.
several years, Larkin and a team of IUP students have been part of the
thousands of volunteers who worked to plant trees at the memorial each April
during the “Plant a Tree at Flight 93” program. The volunteer planting project
is ongoing, with the hope that more than 150,000 trees will be planted at the
the summer months, Forte and Krul collected data on the 22 species of trees
that are currently planted at the memorial. Tyree said that scientists have
been concerned that the new plantings will become victim to encroaching plants,
deer, disease, or the poor soil conditions. Fortunately, early observations seem
to indicate that the deer have not been a problem.
project also is studying the condition of the 1,300 American Chestnut trees
that have been backcrossed with Chinese Chestnut trees to eliminate a blight
that has nearly eliminated the American species. Each of these plantings has
been mapped out to their specific location and will continue to be monitored to
determine their condition.
this year’s monitoring project, the IUP Biology Department anticipates they
will monitor the site every four years.
students are ecology, conservation, and environmental biology majors in the IUP
Biology Honors program, and both are members of the Strategies for Ecology
Education, Diversity, and Sustainability (SEEDS) Club.
has participated in the IUP Research Experience in Summer Scholars program and
the Biology Undergraduate Research Experience, studying “Herbivory Preference
on Invasive versus Native Plants Using the Annam Walking Stick.” He has also
done research on temperature effects on the growth developments of the Annam
Walking Stick. He is a 2005 graduate of Freeport High School.
also has participated in the IUP Research Experience in Summer Scholars program
and the Biology Undergraduate Research Experience, studying “Using Native
Pennsylvania Plants to Suppress Invasive Japanese Stiltgrass.” Her independent
research has focused on using native Pennsylvania plants for green roof
applications. She is a 2011 graduate of Mars High School.
INFORMATION: Cassandra Krul and Ian Forte, biology majors at Indiana University
of Pennsylvania, are part of a project to evaluate the health of trees at the
Flight 93 National Memorial site.