ArborGen announced that for the second consecutive year it has supported the “Plant a Tree at Flight 93”reforestation efforts at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pa. Led by the National Park Service and the Office of Surface Mining – Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI), over 15,000 seedlings were planted at the memorial site during the last two weekends of April. ArborGen’s Geoff Hill, a forester who has worked extensively with ARRI, led two teams of volunteers from public and private organizations.
“We are grateful for ArborGen’s long-time support and their continued contributions toward our reforestation efforts,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial. “We are dedicated to restoring forests on coal mined lands in the Eastern United States and we rely on volunteers and corporate partners to achieve our goals. The reforestation efforts and plantings at the Flight 93 National Memorial are a significant undertaking and support from partners such as ArborGen will eventually result in us meeting our objective of planting 150,000 new trees at the memorial.”
The seedlings were planted during National Park Week over the course of four days, April 19-20 and 26-27, 2013, as part of a major reforestation effort led the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to support the goal of 150,000 new trees at the Flight 93 National Memorial. These trees, which are a mixture of several native species, will form an essential windbreak to protect trees planted in nearby memorial groves. Much of what is now the memorial is a former surface coal mine and this effort will also help re-establish woodland wildlife habitats. The plans for the permanent memorial will include 40 Memorial Groves to commemorate the lives of the 40 passengers and crew of Flight 93. Each grove will contain 40 trees, such as Sugar Maple, White Oak, and Elm, for a total of 1,600 trees radiating toward the center of the Field of Honor, measuring one-half mile in diameter and covering over 150 acres.
“ArborGen has long supported the efforts of ARRI, and we are honored to continue our support of their reforestation efforts with the National Park Service at the Flight 93 National Memorial,” said Andrew Baum, president and chief executive officer of ArborGen. “As a leading supplier of seedlings, we are drawn to compelling planting events such as this one, and we are pleased that our volunteer hours and forestry expertise will help advance the long-term goals for this significant reclamation project.”
Authorized by Congress in 2002, the Flight 93 National Memorial was dedicated on September 10, 2011 and includes 2,220-acres of landscape shaped by surface coal mining. The future vision for the park will build upon large-scale reclamation undertaken by mining companies and will include reforestation, wetland rehabilitation, and planting of thousands of wildflowers and natural grasses.