YSU Legacy Forest Honors Incoming Freshmen

By Sydney Teter
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Students at Youngstown State University are rooting their legacy for future generations with a project that addresses climate change.

The YSU Legacy Forest initiative began about a year and a half ago to address the climate crisis and what YSU could do to solve the problem. In an effort to reduce greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere, current students will plant a tree in honor of each incoming YSU freshman, said Colleen McLean, YSU environmental science professor.

“Our students are our future and our inspiration,” McLean said. “They will be the generation most impacted by the climate crisis. It’s not something they caused, it’s something they inherited so we plant these forests for them and young people all over the world who are going to have to face this crisis.”

McLean believes that she and her fellow faculty have a moral responsibility to their students to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, she said. She joined students Thursday afternoon for a ceremonial tree-planting on YSU campus outside Tod Hall. The YSU Legacy Forest committee is made up of students, faculty, alumni and staff, both current and retired.

Thursday’s planting included a Yellow Flower Butterfly Magnolia tree with a plaque dedicating the tree to the 2020 freshmen class.

Katharine Donnachie, a senior at YSU and the student outreach coordinator for YSU Legacy Forests, said the group plans to form outside of the university, but will remain connected to YSU as they reach for more involvement around the community. The committee already has connections with Mahoning County Land Bank and looks to involve Mill Creek in the future, Donnachie said.

The initiative will allow YSU students to have something to come back to and help them establish their own roots, McLean added. The project also seeks to reforest Mahoning Valley in an effort to push toward carbon neutrality.

For information on planting events, cleanup sites and more, contact the YSU Legacy Forest committee at YSULegacyForests@gmail.com.

Pictured at top: YSU seniors Katharine Donnachie and Mason Borawiec dedicate a YSU Legacy Forest tree to the 2020 freshmen class.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.