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"Sugar Bush Kids" Invade Westminster College Forest

Eighteen "Sugar Bush Kids" from the Westminster College Preschool planted sugar maples at the Westminster College Field Station last weekend.

"The preschoolers were given a certificate that officially, absolutely, and positively certified them as Sugar Bush Kids,'" said Dr. Clarence Harms, director of the field station at Westminster College.  "They could claim that certificate after planting two seedling sugar maples in the yard."

With the help of parents and members of the local Kiwanis Club and Garden Club, the preschoolers planted 38 trees.

"The children were shown how to carefully plant their seedlings with compost generated at the Field Station and commercial peat moss," Harms said.  "Then they had to do a tree dance to share their love with the tiny, but future, producers of maple syrup."

  The Sugar Bush Kids were told the history of sugaring in the country, a process that was learned by the colonists from the Native Americans who had been enjoying sugar trees for over 2,000 years.

"Sugar maples, called Acer saccharum, must grow in good soil and live to be at least 20 years of age before they can be tapped' for their precious sap that flows in late winter and early spring," Harms told the children. 

"The children can come and regularly visit their own sugar trees," Harms said.  "Then, they can return when the tree is at least 10 inches in diameter to see and taste the precious sugar sap."

Harms does not promise to be there for that tasting, but he assured the children that with their certificate, they are really Sugar Bush Kids and will be welcomed back to their trees any time.

In addition to the Westminster College preschoolers, 40 students and parents from the Lawrence County Head Start School planted trees in the Microforest earlier that week.

Each tree planted gets an identification number that is recorded with the name of the person who planted it and a GPS location, so it can be located in the future.  The seedlings planted this year include: white oak, black oak, red maple, American chestnut, white ash, black gum, and hemlock.

This year Harms directed the planting of more than 100 trees.

"Since 1997, we've planted about 1,000 trees," Harms said.  "The tree planting season here is officially over for this year."

Contact Harms at (724) 946-8520 or e-mail harmsc@westminster.edu for more information.

Sugar Bush Kids
Sugar Bush Certificate


Student Lands Internship in Thailand

Valerie Kokai, a junior chemistry major from Westminster College, will spend the summer doing research in Thailand.

 "I discovered this internship by searching for summer programs over Christmas break," Kokai said.  "The deadline was unusually early, so I spent my break preparing my essays and applications.  This program offers some incredible opportunities as well as a chance to see all of Thailand, but they only accept about eight of 60 to 70 applicants."

 Kokai will be conducting research about the synthesis of a ligand for a catalyst at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.  She will receive a salary, as well as free airfare and living expenses.

 "I have been outside of the United States before to visit London and Rome," Kokai said.  "I think this helped me because the application wanted to know about my foreign experience and how I handled traveling for a long amount of time."

 Kokai is a daughter of John and Linda Kokai, Wexford, and a graduate of North Allegheny High School.

 Contact Kokai at kokaive@westminster.edu for more information.


Westminster History Professor Named VP of New Association

Dr. Russell Martin, associate professor of history at Westminster College, was recently named vice president and president elect of the Association for the Study of Eastern Christianity (ASHEC.)

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Westminster College Sponsors Community Service Fair

The Westminster College Career Center and Chapel Office are sponsoring a Community Service Fair Tuesday, Feb. 6, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in Old 77.

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"Better, Not Bigger" is Key to Westminster College Success

Record Number of Applications Makes for Difficult Admissions Decisions

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Music Professor Performs Internationally

Dr. Elizabeth Harrison, Count von Furstenburg, and his wife, Countess von Furstenburg

Dr. Elizabeth Harrison, assistant professor of music at Westminster College, performed six solo organ concerts in Europe and was a keynote speaker at an international conference.

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Student to Perform Senior Piano Recital

Caitlyn Preston, a senior elementary education and music major at Westminster College, will perform her senior piano recital Saturday, April 21, at 3 p.m. in Orr Auditorium.

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Field Station: A Winter Wonderland

The song, Winter Wonderland, appeared in 1934, the creation of composer Felix Bernard and lyricist Richard B. Smith. Although often a Christmas song, this one applies whenever and wherever snow piles up and ice crystals form their reflective shapes. This combination always presents a magical moment at the Field Station and turns fantasy into reality.

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Sierra Student Coalition to Host Speaker

Mark Dixon, co-founder of Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT), will speak on his experiences Monday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Witherspoon Maple Room of the McKelvey Campus Center.

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Biology Major Presented Research at National Meeting

Cory Mathias

Cory Mathias, a Westminster College senior biology major, presented his research at the "Xenobiotic Modulation of Signal Transduction Pathways and Gene Regulation" session of the 48th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 15-19 in Baltimore.

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