Coudersport's moon tree came from seeds that orbited the moon 34 times in 1971 on the Apollo 14 trip, and now a ceremony will officially mark it in the town.
Samantha Sallade

On Saturday, Coudersport, Pennsylvania – in Potter County – will commemorate its very own “moon tree.” The sycamore tree started off as a seed that went up in Apollo 14 in 1971 and orbited the moon 34 times. The moon tree ceremony will take place at Coudersport Area Recreational Park, where the tree is planted.

The ceremony will feature speeches from NASA astronaut David Williams and the son of astronaut Stuart Roosa. Rocks painted by elementary school children with a moon tree theme will be placed around the base of the tree.

Head and shoulder shot of Eric Barron
Gene J. Puskar / AP

Penn State President Eric Barron said he’s looking forward to environmental issues getting more attention — and possibly funding — under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration. 

He said environmental issues have taken a “back seat” at the national level in recent years — from the government removing some climate change terminology to cuts in funding. 

A CNG fueling station at the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority site.
Anne Danahy / WPSU

The November election will likely have big consequences for climate policy in the United States.

President Donald Trump recently said he doesn’t “think science knows” about climate change during a visit to wildfire-plagued California. His administration has rolled back Obama-era climate initiatives.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is promising to put the country on a path toward a 100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions from the U.S. no later than 2050.

Workers install solar panels on the roof of a house
Business Wire

Green energy businesses had been seeing growth, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed that.

“We’re all doing the best we can in the new normal here,” said Kevin Gombotz, vice president of Envinity, a green design and construction company.

Bales of miscellaneous plastic to be sold as recycled materia
Tyler Olson / WPSU

Centre County’s Recycling and Refuse Authority’s Miscellaneous Plastics Drop Off Program is making some changes in the type of plastics it can accept.

“We can’t take black plastic anymore, no cups, no solo cups anymore,” said Amy Schirf, education coordinator for the Recycling and Refuse Authority. “The other thing that was big was packaging. If you would open up a toothbrush and there was like that plastic packaging that goes around it – we used to take that, but we can’t take that anymore either.”

Thirty-three students from Bald Eagle Area High School volunteered to help distribute bottled water to residents of the Snowshoe area.
Min Xian / WPSU

Residents in the Snowshoe area received 1,600 cases of free bottled water on Friday as a temporary relief from their water crisis. 

Residents started showing up at the town’s EMS building early in the morning. For weeks, their water has looked, smelled and tasted abnormal.

"Yes, everybody is having the same problem," said Sharon Nilson, the EMS chief and a Snowshoe resident. "For some people, it’s dirt in their lines; for some people, I guess it’s the milky thing. We have some people live up on Fountain Road that have no water pressure whatsoever.”

The proposed building site for "The Cottages" on Whitehall Road and Blue Course Drive.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Both candidates for Ward 1 of the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors say they believe it’s important to balance economic development and environmental preservation. But they disagree on what to do about a new development planned in the township.

A student housing complex named “The Cottages” is being planned on Whitehall Road and Blue Course Drive. The Toll Brothers developers want to buy the land from Penn State. But they need the go-ahead from the Ferguson Township Board of Supervisors to start building.

Ron Quinn and Peg Hambrick survey the future site of the duplex.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

On a green patch of land on University Drive, there are several stakes and flags marking the ground. The executive director of the State College Community Land Trust Ron Quinn, along with Green Build  committee chair Peg Hambrick, are surveying the empty lot owned by their organization.

The Green Build project is uncharted territory for the Land Trust. Usually, it purchases houses and sells them at a lower cost to buyers who would otherwise be priced out of the State College borough.

The proposed building site for "The Cottages" on Whitehall Road and Blue Course Drive.
Erin Cassidy Hendrick / WPSU

Dave Yoxtheimer, a hydro geologist at the Penn State Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research, walks through a seemingly unremarkable tract of land. It’s near Blue Course Drive and Whitehall Road, in State College’s Ferguson Township. Although it seems barren to the naked eye, the land serves an important purpose for the town’s water.

State College Teachers Join Water Quality Testing Effort

Jul 31, 2014
Teachers looking at computer
Kelly Tunney / WPSU

Many people are concerned with the environmental impacts of Marcellus Shale Drilling. A group of high school teachers from State College are learning how to keep an eye on the quality of local rivers and streams so they can teach the skill to their students.

Recently, a group of earth science teachers from State College Area High School splashed through Black Moshannon Creek. Some wore waders, others just rolled up their pants to wade through the clear, rushing water.

Putting sensors on pland
photo by Kelly Tunney

Many of us talk to our houseplants, or play music for them.  But what if the plants could play music for us?  Actually, they can, thanks to a gadget called the “MIDI Sprout.”

Sam Cusumano, an audio engineer and experimental sound artists from Philadelphia, is the creator of that device. He paid a recent visit to Schlow Library in State College, and stopped by WPSU’s studios to talk about the MIDI sprout, and show us how it works.  We brought a big leafy plant to the studio for the demonstration.