The Ursinus Environmental Studies (ENV) Department recently honored the memory of a beloved community member. On Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018, Professor Rich Wallace and students in his Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar, “The Land Ethic and Adaptive Conservation,” hosted a memorial tree planting for Susan Hunsberger Stevenson, daughter of the family for whom Hunsberger Woods, Collegeville’s sole natural area, is named. The memorial was inspired by Susan’s friend Mary Ellen DeWane (a former Ursinus administrator and class of ’61) and Susan’s classmates from the Collegeville-Trappe High School class of 1948, several of whom attended. Susan’s son David “Dee” Keller also attended, and was deeply moved by the red oak tree planted in his mother’s memory. Several Ursinus administrators and representatives of Collegeville Borough also attended.
Ursinus College has a long history of caring for the land at Hunsberger Woods. The natural area was created when Susan’s parents, Russell and Jeannette Hunsberger, sold their property jointly to the Borough and Ursinus. The college purchased the Hunsberger house and adjacent buildings and fields. The Borough, using state funds provided by the Growing Greener Program, bought the undeveloped 27-acre parcel that now encompasses the protected Hunsberger Woods natural area. The Hunsberger family lived on the property from 1938 until 1996, and it has been a public natural area since 1997. Ursinus ENV faculty and students have worked closely with the Borough to care for and restore the natural area over the past 16 years (with many more years of stewardship to come!). The memorial oak tree planted this week, if it prospers, will live well into the 23rd century.