01 May 2023

Caring for the Land and Serving People

Written by: Alisen Hazeltine

Let the festivities BEGIN! The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) turns 100 this year and to commemorate its establishment, a calendar of events and activities have been planned for the public to enjoy. The first Centennial Passport event was on Earth Day, April 22! To give back to the planet, the ANF hosted its annual garlic mustard pull at the Buckaloons Recreation Area. Volunteers from the Forest and community attended to pull the invasive plants from negatively affecting native vegetation.

I joined the group pulling garlic mustard (shown in top left photo) and learned that this plant was originally introduced from Europe for its high concentration of Vitamin A and C. The reason the plant is becoming a problem is because a rare butterfly, the West Virginia white, lays its eggs on native toothwort plants. The butterfly is unable to chemically differentiate toothwort from garlic mustard and when it lays its eggs on the toxic garlic mustard, the hatched caterpillars die after feeding on its leaves.

Thanks to our partnership with a local business, the Crary Art Gallery, a sponsored art exhibit is in the works! Local artists are encouraged to submit their works demonstrating their interpretation of the Forest and its impact on the local community. In addition to this, we reached out to the local school districts of Elk, Forest, McKean and Warren counties, to ask art teachers if they’d like to get involved. Last week, I delivered canvas banners to the teachers (shown in bottom left photo) who wished to have their students participate. The banners will be displayed in the ANF100 Juried Art Exhibition at the Crary Art Gallery in September.

To celebrate Arbor Day, April 28, the City of Warren hosted a tree dedication ceremony by planting a black cherry tree, provided by the Warren Garden Club, at Crescent Park in Warren, PA. The tree had a commemoration plaque stating, “This black cherry tree planted in 2023 commemorates the establishment of the Forest” with the ANF Centennial logo and tagline (shown in bottom right photo). ANF Forest Supervisor, Jamie Davidson, spoke about the Forest’s history and Centennial year.

The latest event I attended was very unique, the Chainsaw Carvers Rendezvous in Ridgway, PA, where chainsaw artists from around the world met for live carvings, demonstrations, and an art auction. This was the highest attended event I have represented the Forest at, so far. Putting my design skills to work again, I was given the opportunity to make a centennial banner to use at outreach events (shown behind me in the top right photo). The photo featured in the banner is of the Allegheny Reservoir, one of the ANF’s top attractions, known for its kayaking, boating, fishing and more. In addition to the banner, our newest promotional giveaway items are wooden keychains, with the ANF Centennial logo on them, made from local black cherry wood.

My assistantship is FLYING by and has been full of new, exciting opportunities! I look forward to attending more events, meeting new people, designing more materials, and continuing to learn about the Forest and my new (potential) role at the ANF.

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