West Virginia University at Parkersburg
300 Campus Drive Parkersburg WV 26104
Phone: 304-424-8203 | Fax: 304-424-8315
WVU Parkersburg receives gift of trees from Johnny Appleseed descendant and others.
CONTACT: WVU Parkersburg President Marie Foster Gnage, 304-424-8200.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Scattered throughout the campus of West Virginia University at Parkersburg are new saplings braced with wooden supports to weather their first winter.
There are more than 100 oak and maple trees lining roadways and outlining campus boundaries.
WVU Parkersburg has its own Johnny Appleseed.
Parkersburg native H. Smoot Fahlgren is the driving force behind the greening of the campus. He donated the trees to the college because, as he explains, "planting trees is in my DNA."
And rightly so. Fahlgren is the closest living relative to John Chapman, better known as American pioneer Johnny Appleseed who -- legend has it -- single handedly planted acres of apple tree orchards as settlers moved westward in the early 1800s.
"Thatís sort of the twist to this," Fahlgren notes. "But I think itís so very important to have trees, especially on a college campus."
It was also the neighborly thing to do, he adds, since his Parkersburg home is on nearby Dutch Ridge.
The business executive credits a group of friends for assisting in helping to make the WVU Parkersburg tree project possible. Jack Ankrom provided the landscape design and site location for the trees. Bill Bills of Holiday Tree Farm supplied the saplings at an attractive price and United Bank's Richard Adams contributed to the overall cost.
Fahlgren is chairman emeritus of the Fahlgren Agency, the highly successful advertising agency he created in Parkersburg in 1962. He was recently named to the 2005 West Virginia Business Hall of Fame.
For the college, his tree project will provide a means to create more of a traditional campus environment.
"This is such a wonderful gift," WVU Parkersburg President Marie Foster Gnage noted. "Itís impact on beautifying and enhancing the campus will be felt for generations to come."
For Fahlgren, the trees on the Parkersburg campus are a reminder of his roots, so to speak.
"I hope this small gesture creates meaningful aesthetics for the campus," Fahlgren said. "The trees should add a lot of color. Iím appreciative of how receptive President Gnage was to doing this."