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College Students Plant Thousands of Red Spruce & Balsam Fir Trees
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by Sierra Student Coalition, WVU Chapter | 2006

Over 50 students help plant over 4,800 red spruce and balsam fir seedlings in the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge

The West Virginia Highlands Conservancy led a student outing on the first weekend of April.  West Virginia University and Davis & Elkins College students spent the weekend at the Laneville Cabin in the Monongahela National Forest.  The students planted Red Spruce and Balsam Fir trees at the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge as part of a Red Spruce ecosystem restoration effort. 


Red Spruce, once dominant in the area, has suffered due to logging in the past century.  Regeneration became difficult for the spruce after the deforestation of the last century.  Following the logging, repeated fires swept through the area, burning off vital layers of top soil and all the seeds necessary to regenerate a new forest.  

     The WVU Sierra Student Coalition was there in full force along with WVU's Plant and Soil Science club.  The outing offered students hands-on experience with wildlife restoration in a lively atmosphere.   Rain throughout Saturday didn't deter the over 50 students from planting over 4,800 two year old seedlings.  Sunday's sunny blue skies and warmer temperatures helped ease the completion of the planting with over 1,000 more trees planted.  Carmen Borsa, a SSC member, explains that the weekend "allowed us all to get out in the woods with new and old friends while helping to revitalize the forest."   Dave Saville, from the Highlands Conservancy, lead the outing and SSC faculty advisor, Jim Kotcon added his enthusiasm to the trip.


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