It was hard to distinguish anybody in particular. We looked like big green marshmallows scattered across the lot.
We were the volunteers helping with the Flight 93 Reforestation project the last two weekends in April. We planted trees.
I signed up with Melanie Heiple and Dick Stern to represent the Somerset Exchange Club. There were many, many other clubs represented gauging by the hats and emblems on coats.
I noticed guys in the group next to us had Confluence Lions Club hats on. I also chatted with a couple from the Monongahela Lions Club near Pittsburgh, students from Penn Highlands Community College and a native American from Arizona who came to bless the land and trees before helping us with the planting.
Melanie and I were teamed up with a group that included two guys from Ohiopyle State Park and a Somerset couple and their son. Our mentors were both Penn State graduates, so I was good in my Penn State jacket, not that they could see it under my green T-shirt.
Our mentors, Brian is a forestry professor at the University of Kentucky and Mitch works in a forestry department in Northwestern Pennsylvania, took us to our section. It was the uppermost right hand side of the grid. At the top of the hill.
We carried our buckets of seedlings up the hill. We climbed over and muddled through sometimes knee-high troughs or "rips" made by a bulldozer to loosen the ground and give us rows for planting. Brian and Mitch showed us how to use our dibble bar to dig a hole for the seedling and another air hole for the roots.
I wielded the dibble bar while Melanie planted. We encouraged each seedling to grow as we planted it. My eyes to the ground, I was surprised more than once when I nearly plowed into Brian standing at the end of our rip to stop us from going too far.
"If you hadn't been there I'd have ended up in Somerset!" I told him.
Our hard work was rewarded with box lunches provided by Subway. That chocolate chip cookie at the end of the day never tasted so good!
Melanie and I named one of our seedlings "The M and M Tree" and vowed to come back in 20 years to see how big it grew. I wonder if we'll be able to find it among all the trees the volunteers planted?
Stay tuned because another tree planting session is planned for next year.
(Madolin Edwards is the Community News editor and can be reached at email@example.com.)