Branching Out to Beautify Environment


Being a college student, Maryville University sophomore Susan Rohan uses her share of paper for class assignments, research projects and term papers. Rohan thinks it’s only fair, therefore, that she spends several hours a month volunteering to help replenish the original source of that paper.

Rohan of Fenton, a physical therapy major at Maryville, donates her time to Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, a local, not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring volunteers to plant and care for trees and forests, particularly trees located in cities and towns. Rohan plants and fertilizes trees for Project CommuniTree, Forest ReLeaf’s community nursery located at Creve Coeur Park in Maryland Heights. “Susan is a great young woman who has been a huge help to us,” said Scott Wagner, forestry programs manager for Forest ReLeaf.

Rohan, who has volunteered at Forest ReLeaf since September 2006, learned of the group through her membership in Maryville’s Keith Lovin Institute for Leadership and Values, an organization in which students hone their leadership skills through involvement in community service projects. As a physical therapy major, Rohan’s academic pursuits occur indoors so she wanted a change of scenery for her volunteer work. “I picked an organization because I wanted something completely different from my major,” Rohan said. “I feel proud about the work I’m doing.”

A 2005 graduate of Rockwood Summit High School, Rohan is also an M-PACT scholar at Maryville. Making a positive impact on the environment gives her a great deal of satisfaction. “I see how many pieces of paper I use and so it’s nice to be able to help new trees grow,” Rohan commented. The daughter of Keith and Jane Rohan of Fenton, Susan Rohan always has liked being outdoors. “We had woods in our backyard, my brothers and I would play out there,” she remarked. “My parents like what I’m doing, they think it’s pretty neat.”

Since 1994, through partnerships with the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Community Forestry Council, Forest ReLeaf has distributed more than 28,000 trees at reduced costs to municipalities and non-profit organizations across Missouri. On Saturday, April 21, a group of Maryville students, faculty and staff will join Rohan and other Forest ReLeaf volunteers in planting trees as part of National Global Service Day.

Rohan plans to volunteer at Forest ReLeaf this summer and next fall. “Since I started working there, I notice trees more. I’m starting to know more about them.”