Friday, December 12, 2008

GSC Students Restoring Yeager Airport

The forest technology students that are taking the soils and land reclamation class are working on a unique project while doing a service learning project. The project allows the students field experience in erosion and sediment control and reclamation processes .

The students in the Land Resources Department are assisting Yeager Airport officials with the reclamation of land around the airport necessitated by the airport’s runway extension and improvement project. The undertaking, which improves safety and expands the capability of the airport, requires the moving of more than three million cubic yards of rock and soil. The Glenville State College students are gaining vital real world experience, while Yeager Airport and the community will have received an exceptional reclamation effort.

The goal of the Land Resources Department is to make the disturbed area more scenic, provide diverse shrubs and trees for protection of the site, and enhance the wildlife on the area. The plants will reduce runoff, decrease sediment and provide for better overall site protection. Establishing woody plants on the site has initially involved sowing black locust, white pine and sycamore seed. Redbud seed will also be added. The redbud will provide spring color (purple) and the black locust will provide summer color (white). Both of these species are legumes and hearty and should enhance the soil while providing a visual break in the grass covered fill area.

Glenville State College students will return to the site in the spring of 2009 to plant a variety of seedlings. Norway spruce will be provided for visual blocks along trails. The spruce grow slowly but will eventually provide cover for wildlife and diversity in the landscape. Black locust, chestnut, and red oak seedlings will also be planted. Upon completion of the project, the disturbed hillside will be returned to an attractive, stable slope covered with a variety of trees, shrubs and grasses.