Altoona environmental studies alum organizes native planting initiative

Penn State Altoona students, professors, alumni, and community members participate in a native planting initiative in Tipton, Pennsylvania. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

ALTOONA, Pa. — Several Penn State Altoona students, professors, and alumni, along with community members, took part in a native planting initiative in Tipton, Blair County, on April 19.

The event was organized by Angie Spagnoli, a 2018 graduate of Penn State Altoona’s Environmental Studies program. She received assistance from Eric Oliver, with the Department of Environmental Protection, who provided the seedlings and equipment.

Land behind the Northern Blair Recreation Center has been overrun by invasive plants, so Spagnoli is working to remove the harmful growth and replace them with species native to the area.

The group planted 400 seedlings and eight native shrubs and trees. These included redbud, silky and gray dogwood, black willow, river birch, spicebush, arrow wood, and nannyberry.

After the planting, Spagnoli walked the group around the area telling them about her master’s degree research project that used the land as a study site.

Restoring native plant habitat is critical to preserving biodiversity which nurtures and sustains the landscape for birds and other animals.

Spagnoli is thrilled with the planting effort and remains grateful to Penn State Altoona for fostering her career.

“Penn State Altoona has been at the core of every project I’ve done, even after graduating. My professors have supported everything I put my energy into from graduate research to community outreach. My focus on conservation started at Penn State Altoona, and that connection will stay with me forever.”

Last Updated April 21, 2021