Penn State Master Gardeners support cleaning efforts at Flight 93 National Memorial. Penn State University

University Park, PA. – After September 11, 2001, Dr. Leicester, like everyone else, was defeated by lack of faith, fear and sadness.

A Pittsburgh resident described the days, weeks and months following the al-Qa’eda attack in the United States: Many were trying their best to keep going. ”

For Lester, this is the message from Penn State Extension Vegetarian, Sandy Laba, announcing that the light pole has been accepted into the Allegheny County Master’s Program during this dark period.

“I think this is the best thing that ever happened to us,” he said. I have always been interested in gardening as a hobby, but now I am able to learn more and teach others with the help of Penn State research.

For the next 20 years, he / she is an active gardener, educating the public on gardening and environmental protection, as the schedule allows.

However, a recent appeal for assistance to the cleaning project at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County – where one of the four hijacked planes crashed after passengers and crew tried to regain control – was a mission he could not turn around. Down.

When I learned about the September 11 attacks, it took me 20 years to remember where I was and what I was doing. I felt it was important to see the site and help with the project. Planned for the 20th anniversary, volunteering was a small part of what I could do.

Leicester and more than 80 other gardeners from all over Pennsylvania spent the day on August 13 at the historic site repairing, cutting, and removing debris.

The idea for the project originated with Professor James Savawe, a professor of horticulture at Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. He and his colleague Bill Elmdorf, Professor and Chairman of Community and Urban Forest, have been assisting the National Park Service in overseeing the monument.

During a July visit, Savage noticed a number of weed-covered parking islands and surrounding landscapes, especially Canadian thorns, which are fast-growing and difficult to control. Trees and shrubs also need to be pruned.

On August 13, more than 80 master gardeners and other volunteers removed weeds, cuttings, and plant debris at Flight 93 National Memorial.

Savage has known since the past interactions with the park staff that, despite their best efforts, there are challenges to maintaining the venue: a 93-foot-tall musical instrument, a 1,500-hectare monument with 40 winds. Chimes representing 40 passengers and staff members – a tower of names and a private space for families.

“They do not have a veteran or gardener,” says Savage. I thought that they could enlist the help of experts in these special skills to solve their problems effectively.

Penn State Extension Master then spoke to the gardeners. The question went to Valerie Cessler, the area’s chief horticultural coordinator for the county, Somerset County. Although handicrafts are outside of the program’s educational mission, the master gardener’s management confirms that the project is unique.

“The Memorial is a sacred place that reflects an important moment in the history and perseverance of our country,” Cesler said. However, we only had a short window to do the work, so we were not sure how many of our volunteers could help.

An email blast quickly answered that question. Within hours, more than 50 major gardeners have confirmed the August 13 clean-up. Another 30 or so happened soon after.

Brenda Wasler, Natural Resources Manager, Western Pennsylvania National Parks, Master Gardeners, Park Workers, and members of the Penn Dell Chapter of the International Patriotic Association helped with land management.

Tree handling at Flight 93 Memorial

Penny State Extension Master Gardeners Andy Savaj, Rob Krulak and David Ruyac, members of the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners, assisted the Penn State Extension Master Gardeners at the Flight 93 National Memorial.

A total of 13 large trailers – and many smaller ones – were pulled by tree branches and weeds. So, in line with the Master’s gardener’s mission, one classroom was included – Savavis taught tree gardening to visitors and visitors.

“The volunteers worked hard and had a positive attitude despite the brutal heat,” Cesler said. “We understand the importance of remembering the victims and remembering their heroism. It was a very emotional day, but it was also very rewarding. ”

After the day’s activities, many volunteers, including Leicester, visited the monument and listened to presentations. “I went down to the walls of names,” said Leicester. “It’s a serious walk. Everyone was respectful and respectful as they read the names and looked at the flight path.

Wasler thanked the gardeners and others who volunteered that day. He said the monument, which has received 3.8 million visitors since 2007, is based on volunteers who help protect the landscape.

“I was amazed at what was done,” she says. After 30 minutes of cleaning, I could see the difference. We have not been able to bring together so many talented and knowledgeable people. We are grateful for your help in making sure that Flight 93 is ready to welcome families and visitors to the upcoming festival.

Details of the “September 11 20th” at Flight 93 National Memorial can be found online at More information about the Master Gardener Program is available at the Penn State Extension website at

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