Adrianna D’Onofrio ’22 was among the faculty, staff and students who planted 100 trees on campus
Photo: Emily Paine
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Adrianna D’Onofrio ’22 was among the faculty, staff and students who planted 100 trees on campus.

Two Birds, One Seed

Planting of 100 trees advances campus and statewide sustainability efforts

ON AN EARLY, FOGGY October morning, about 30 faculty, staff and students gathered to plant 100 trees on campus as part of a twofold sustainability and restoration initiative. Planted along the Miller Run stream on Bucknell’s western grounds along Smoketown Road, the saplings are among a variety of native trees being sowed across the state through the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Keystone 10 Million Trees Partnership.

To help curb climate change and protect local waterways, the partnership’s aim is to plant 10 million trees across Pennsylvania’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed by 2025. As a tributary, Miller Run pours into the Susquehanna River, which provides half of the Chesapeake’s freshwater inflow. The stream is one that also frequently floods due to inadequate forestation and practices that have removed the natural flood-plain areas.

“Adding tree-root systems here will help reinforce the soil and manage the amount of water that flows into the stream,” says Milton Newberry, Bucknell’s sustainable technology program director. “Along with storm-water management, a buffer like this improves water quality by filtering polluted runoff.”

The effort enables a variety of the University’s sustainability offices and programs to build upon a long-standing dream of planting 1,000 trees in 1,000 days, an idea first proposed by the facilities division.

“We’re really feeding two birds with one seed here,” Newberry says. “We get to beautify and improve our campus while also serving a bigger purpose in the state.”

The new forested area comprises 18 species — including persimmon and pawpaw plants — that will mature within 20 years. By then, the students involved in planting this miniature orchard will likely be reaping its fruit.

“I’m excited to come back for a Reunion, see the growth and know that I was part of it,” says Olivia Bush ’24, who planted trees in Bucknell’s iconic hillside Grove last year. “It’ll be really fun to see the progress that we helped make on our campus.”

For J.P. Stark ’22, “participating in something bigger than yourself is definitely the most meaningful aspect. Having a positive impact on our environment, there’s nothing more rewarding than that.”