By Walter Jarosh
Throwback with TODAY
History Grows in Upper St. Clair by Walter Jarosh
September 1995 (4th issue) pages 6-7
Shovels and spades dug into the hard earth throughout May as Upper St. Clair's youth worked to plant trees in a new and exciting tree planting effort. The trees were donated by West Penn Power Company as part of the American Forest Famous and Historic Trees Program. Each tree is truly special, as each is a seedling from old and stately trees that witnessed the birth and growth of our nation. Some of the parent trees were alive when Columbus arrived in the new world. Some parent trees witnessed the events of the American Revolution and survived bloody battles of the Civil War. Others were nurture by presidents, inventors, artists heroes and accomplished Americans who have contributed to the growth, formation and greatness of this nation.
Individual school and Township sites were carefully chosen by school principals Tom Harshman, Robert Broggi, Beverly Krill and Township Forester Walter Jarosh. The trees at each site were selected to reflect the theme of the location.
The Township site at the Boyce wetlands was planted by Cub Scouts of Pack 660, Dens 1, 2 and 3, featuring trees from the grounds of James Madison, George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman. The group braved the rain to plant the trees.
At Eisenhower Elementary School, the Brownies of Troop 1776 also braved the rainy weather to plant the Eisenhower Ash, Mount Vernon Red Maple, President Lincoln White Oak, Montpelier Pignut Hickory and the U.S. Capital Grounds Honeylocust. All who participated received satisfaction from the results of their hard work.
Fort Couch Middle School students study the lives and accomplishments of many historical figures. Planted by selected school students were the Walden Woods Red Maple, Jesse Owens Honeylocust, Winston Churchill English Oak, Nathan Hale Northern Red Oak and the Sergeant York Tulip Poplar.
Student council representatives gathered at Boyce School to plant trees reflecting famous places and battlefields from the American Revolution and Civil War. Twelve thousand Revolutionary War soldiers camped at Valley Forge under the command of George Washington during the harsh winter of 1778. A red oak from Valley Forge National Park provided the seeds for the Valley Forge Red Oaks planted by the students. Wilson Creek, Missouri, witnessed a five hour battle on August 10, 1861, but ultimately strengthened the Union's strategic position along the Mississippi River. The students planted Prairie Grove Chinkapin Oaks, descendants from a tree that stand at the site of this battle. Walden Woods Red Maples were also included to reflect the serenity of Walden Woods and tie into the students' Deer Valley trip and environmental studies.
After each tree was planted, a protective tube was securely staked around the tree to provide protection and assist in rapid growth. Students autographed a certificate from the historic trees for display at the school sites.
What creates enough oxygen every day to support a family of four? Absorbs and re-releases 400 gallons of water every 24 hours and provides hundreds of dollars worth of air conditioning, water purification, erosion and pollution control each year - free of charge? A TREE. A total of 8 trees were added to the community and over 60 youth learned history and gained the satisfaction of a community project to last a lifetime, maybe longer. Many thanks to West Penn Power, American Forests, the School District and Township administration and most importantly, the students, teachers, scouts and adults that worked so carefully to ensure the success of the planting. As the youngsters graduate from high school they are asked to visit and reflect on the growth of their trees. Someday they may picnic with their children under a tree that they had planted.