The Friends of Flight 93 are proud to announce that Plant a Tree at Flight 93 will continue this year on April 26-27 at Flight 93 National Memorial. New this year, the National Park Service is partnering with the Pennsylvania WoodMobile during the annual reforestation event as we near the goal of 150,000 seedlings planted over 10 years.
An outreach tool of the Pennsylvania Hardwoods Development Council, the WoodMobile educates the public about Pennsylvania’s forests and sustainable forest management – securing the wood products we need today while protecting the trees of tomorrow. The mobile classroom uses interactive activities and displays to promote the responsible use of forest resources and an understanding of the forest industry to the public. The WoodMobile helps showcase the importance of reforestation mining landscapes, and how integral trees are as a part of the original architect’s design for Flight 93 National Memorial.
The eighth annual Plant a Tree event is a massive reforestation effort that will see approximately 13,600 seedlings and native shrubs planted over 20 acres. In addition to the tree planting, the reforestation area will be seeded with a native pollinator seed mix to increase the diversity of native plants and improve the wildlife habitat. By restoring natural habitats, increasing the floral resources, and creating nesting sites, we can help to conserve and attract more of the 400 pollinator species native to Pennsylvania. These plantings assists with re-establishing woodland wildlife habitats on the former surface coal mine land, now the final resting place of the passengers and crew of Flight 93.
No planting expertise is needed, however, no walk-on volunteers are accepted. Those interested must pre-register online at http://flight93friends.org. Registration opens March 27 and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration last year sold out within two days. Participants must wear boots and be at least 14 years of age to participate in this rain-or-shine event. Tree planting is physically demanding and this year’s terrain is the most challenging with steep slopes and rocky, hard ground. There will not be water bottles provided at this year’s event, and participants are encouraged to bring their own reusable water bottle to the memorial, which is a trash-free site. To learn more about what to know before registration, visit the Friends’ website.
Many event sponsors and conservation partners donate financial gifts and in-kind services to ensure this event remains free for all participants, including the American Chestnut Foundation, Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI), Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Law Enforcement, and DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Roy A. Hunt Foundation, International Paper Company and more. Sponsorship opportunities are available and should be directed to Brooke Neel at [email protected].
The reforestation efforts are expected to be completed over the next 2-3 years. The Friends of Flight 93 and National Park Service look to utilize volunteers in the future to assist with the ongoing care and maintenance of the plantings that have occurred since 2012. To date, volunteers have assisted with planting 116,318 native tree seedlings over 167 acres at Flight 93 National Memorial.