Those Brad­fords may be pretty, but they’re caus­ing big prob­lems

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Good Life In Happy Valley - BY BILL LA­M­ONT

Re­cently, a reader wrote to the Cen­tre Daily Times that their neigh­bor ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral flat tires on his farm ma­chin­ery this summer while mak­ing hay in fields around his Boals­burg farm. Thorns/spikes on branches of small seedlings and saplings that are in­vad­ing the hay fields are ev­i­dently the cause of the dam­age.

Now, what is caus­ing this prob­lem was the next ques­tion.

Re­search on the in­ter­net pointed the reader to the “Brad­ford” pear — yes, those white bloom­ing trees you see ev­ery­where in the spring­time, es­pe­cially in de­vel­op­ments around town. What they found out was that all those white bloom­ing trees are now an en­vi­ron­men­tal dis­as­ter hap­pen­ing right be­fore our very eyes.

As re­ported at the Char­lotte, N.C.-based WCNC, it seems that just about ev­ery white bloom­ing tree in the spring­time — with only the ex­cep­tion of wild plums, which is a short multi-flora tree that sel­dom reaches over 8 feet in height — are an eco­log­i­cal night­mare, get­ting worse and worse ev­ery year and oblit­er­at­ing our won­der­ful na­tive trees from the ru­ral land­scape.

This es­pe­cially ap­plies to that “charm­ing” Brad­ford pear that has been planted along many grass strips be­tween the road­way and the side­walk or in the mid­dle of your front yard. It seems that the Brad­ford pear is worse than kudzu (I have seen that in North Carolina climb over aban­doned build­ings), and the prob­lem seems to be prog­eny of Brad­ford pear.

Ac­cord­ing to WCNC, when the Brad­ford pear was first in­tro­duced as an or­na­men­tal in 1964 by the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, it was known then that this tree pos­sessed the weak­est branch struc­ture in na­ture. Any­one who has seen Brad­ford pear trees af­ter an ice storm knows what I’m talk­ing about. I re­mem­ber the ice storm in Park For­est more that a few years ago. Also, the

count it as one of their fa­vorite pieces, ac­cord­ing to Mary Krohn-Smith, an ele­men­tary in­stru­men­tal mu­sic teacher who is in­volved with the pro­gram.

The stu­dents were im­pressed that some­one could com­pose a lengthy ar­range­ment in dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments, Krohn-Smith said, rather than just for one in­stru­ment.

“She wrote it for the vi­o­lin, the vi­ola, the cello, and the bass, (and they didn’t know) that that could be done, so it was in­spir­ing to them,” Krohn-Smith said.


In ad­di­tion to see­ing her cur­rent stu­dents play Ash­ley’s song, Krohn-Smith also taught Ash­ley last year, and re­mem­bers how Ash­ley per­formed in not only band and orches­tra, but choir as well.

Now, Krohn-Smith is look­ing for­ward to watch­ing these con­nec­tions come to­gether.

“It’s a fun evening,” Krohn-Smith said. “It’s a fun evening for the kids, for the par­ents, just to make mu­sic to­gether, and for all the chil­dren to do com­mu­nity build­ing and get to know some­one from across town. And the whole thing for Ash­ley — for the kids to ac­tu­ally see her, it’s like ‘Oh, she’s (ac­tu­ally) the com­poser.’”

This year’s pro­gram will also be a home­com­ing of sorts for an­other for­mer mem­ber: Emma Van Allen. Van Allen is now an ele­men­tary orches­tra teacher When: Where: Info: in the State Col­lege Area School Dis­trict, but, through the Part­ners in Mu­sic pro­gram, was also a stu­dent teacher and con­duc­tor for the con­cert be­fore grad­u­at­ing from Penn State in 2014 with her de­gree in mu­sic ed­u­ca­tion. This is the first year Van Allen has been a teacher in the dis­trict since grad­u­a­tion, and she said it’s been “won­der­ful” get­ting to ex­pe­ri­ence both sides of the pro­gram, first as a par­tic­i­pant and now as a teacher.

“As a teacher in State Col­lege Area School Dis­trict, I find this op­por­tu­nity ex­tremely valu­able for my par­tic­i­pat­ing fifth grade stu­dents,” Van Allen said via email. “As a pre-ser­vice teacher, the Penn State Part­ners in Mu­sic Pro­gram gave me au­then­tic field ex­pe­ri­ence con­duct­ing and teach­ing orches­tra stu­dents.”

The pro­gram, she added, al­lowed her an op­por­tu­nity to di­rect stu­dents dur­ing each re­hearsal and per­form a full piece at the con­cert — ex­pe­ri­ences that helped her de­velop dif­fer­ent re­hearsal tech­niques and learn how to teach ef­fi­ciently.

“See­ing stu­dents ex­cit­edly progress in each re­hearsal and work to­gether to make mu­sic re­in­forced my dream of be­com­ing an orches­tra teacher,” Van Allen said.


Brad­ford pear trees of­fer vis­ual ap­peal but are highly prone to split­ting be­cause of weak branch struc­ture.

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