While National Arbor Day is celebrated on the last Friday in April, members of the Penn State Mont Alto community consider every day to be Arbor Day and hosts events throughout the year on campus! Remaining true to its roots, the Mont Alto campus brings students, faculty, staff, and alumni together to plant trees and work in the Arboretum.
“Hosting Arbor Day events at Penn State Mont Alto helps to preserve and protect our trees, provides opportunities for our students to develop their forestry skills and practice sustainable arboriculture techniques, and builds community among our students, alumni, and benefactors.” ― Elizabeth Brantley, associate teaching professor in forestry
The Mont Alto campus was originally founded to train men for service in the state forests by Joseph Rothrock, an explorer, botanist, and medical doctor. In May 1903, the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy was formally established by Samuel W. Pennypacker, governor of Pennsylvania, as one of the first forestry schools in the nation.
On Arbor Day in 1905, the academy's first administrator, George Wirt, sent students searching for native tree species not found on campus. They returned more than 400 specimens (30 species) to the campus that day, and so began the arboretum at Mont Alto.
“I participate in Penn State Mont Alto Arbor Day events because when I studied forestry at Mont Alto, I found and developed my passion for trees and their well being…I have been involved with forestry-minded activities from California to Massachusetts and as far south as Georgia. In all my travels, Mont Alto has been revered and is well known for its vital role in outdoor education. Along with many other contributing factors, it is the work ethic and knowledge I established during my time at Mont Alto that has helped in the success I have found as a professional arborist for Bartlett Tree Experts over the last six years.” ― Derek Furry ’11, Bartlett Tree Experts safety coordinator
Today, the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum contains over 924 trees, 71 genera, and 180 species. It is a living, historic collection and outdoor classroom that exists to promote the aesthetic, educational, and research values of woody plants for present and future generations.
“My life changed at Mont alto when I met, now life-long friends, Forestry Instructors Craig Houghton and Beth Brantley. I don’t have the words to convey how they have helped me while as a student and now as a professional in my field, both inside and outside the classroom. They literally pour themselves with all they have into the betterment of the great Forestry Program and the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum.” ― Derek Furry ’11, Bartlett Tree Experts Safety Coordinator
Find out more about the Penn State Mont Alto Arboretum at montalto.psu.edu/arboretum.