Biology Major Maps Trees on Seton Hill Campus

Senior biology major Hannah Hartman has always been a tree lover. For her honors capstone project, Hannah created an interactive map identifying the location and species of the trees on the Seton Hill campus. 

“I realized I could get field experience and do a project that I’m passionate about, while learning more about the history of our school,” she says.

Campus archivist Bill Black showed Hannah a booklet from the ‘90s that mapped the campus trees. She spent the summer of 2018 finding which trees were still standing and identifying new trees.

"It was cool to be able to tie in history with biology, the two things that I really care about."

Her map spans from Seton Hill Drive to DeChantal Hall, and she created a website that contains the interactive map. The website also gives information about each of the 52 species of trees on campus. 

“I figured a website would be a really good way to distribute the map,” Hannah says. 

Along with Black, Hannah was assisted by her project advisor, Jessica Brzyski, Ph.D., associate professor of biology at Seton Hill. She also received help from her friends: seniors Kait Germanoski (a graphic design major) and Marisa Valotta (an English major). Kait designed a campus map for Hannah, while Marisa took notes during tree identification. 

Hannah says her project helped her gain experience that will be beneficial in her career. She also enjoyed seeing how the campus has changed over the years. 

“It was cool to be able to tie in history with biology, the two things that I really care about,” Hannah says. 

As president of the Biology Club, Hannah also helped coordinate the planting of a new tree along Seton Hill Drive. The Biology Club dedicated a London planetree to Suzanne Rogers, Ph.D., in October. Rogers was an associate professor of biology at Seton Hill who passed away in June. 

“We knew the university wanted to hold a memorial service, but thought it would be awesome to give something back in her honor,” Hannah says. “It was touching, because it was a chance for the Biology Club to tell the other students how much Dr. Rogers meant to us.”