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Piltzecker Letter
Piltzecker Letter

Location: Liberty Island, New York City, NY

Community Impact: This year the Statue of Liberty will celebrate her 127th birthday, and Project EverGreen plans to honor that event with a revitalization of the site dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

A few years after the tragedy of 9/11 a Liberty Island Ladies auxiliary group planted several London Plane trees to honor the lives lost in the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The site became known as the 9/11 Memorial Grove. Hurricane Sandy damaged many of the trees, and most of them are now dead or dying.

As part of a pilot for a developing partnership recently-proposed agreement in principle with the National Park Service, Project EverGreen, a non-profit green industry foundation, has coordinated with the New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association, to revitalize the 9/11 Memorial Grove with new trees and plantings. The site is a place for visitors to relax, reflect, remember and continue healing.

“The space itself has a direct line of sight to ground zero,” says Jody Shilan, executive director of the NJLCA. ”It seemed like a perfect location to reflect and think about that day.”

Shilan hopes to be able to include thematic plantings – cultivars such as patriot, liberty and America if they are appropriate for the site. There is a Lady Liberty Peony. Shilan is working with an expert from Monrovia to determine which plants will survive and flourish on the island

“It’s a nice green space that can hold a couple of hundred people,” Shilan says. “We want to celebrate life and perseverance as well as remember the tragedy.”

Project Scope:
Green Space Cleanup
Tree Removal
9/11 Memorial Grove Tree Installation
Mulching Tree Beds
Soil Analysis
Sodic Soil Treatment
Re-seeding of the Liberty Island 9/11 Memorial Grove turf grass

Completion Date: June 10, 2014

Estimated Project Value: Over $50,000

Estimated Value of Volunteer Time: $8,700

Project Partners:
Almstead Tree & Shrub Care Co.
Artisan Gardens LLC Landscape Construction
Bartlett Tree Experts
Clean Cut Lawns & Landscapes
Jersey Mike’s Subs, Holmdel
Jersey Mike’s Subs, Middletown
Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
Lawn Doctor
Lebanon Turf
Levitt’s LLC
Lidochem Inc.
Long Island Compost
New Jersey Landscape Contractors Association
New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association
Paul Cowie & Associates
Plant Detectives Nursery & Garden Center
Solu-Cal USA
Weed Man

LIBERTY ISLAND, NEW YORK, N.Y. — Project EverGreen is coordinating a project that will see more than $35,000 invested to revitalize the 9/11 Memorial Grove on Liberty Island on Tuesday, June 10. The grove was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and the renovation follows the March removal of dead and dying London Plane trees damaged by the storm surge that sent five feet of saltwater onto the site. The soil at the site was also amended to reduce the high salt content remaining from the saltwater.

Green industry volunteers will plant a dozen new London Plane trees June 10 on the site where the trees were originally installed by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, and the site will be re-dedicated to the victims of the 9/11 tragedy.

“Parks, gardens and green spaces are proven to have a mental healing effect, like those dealing with a loss of a loved one from the 9/11 tragedy,” said Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “In fact, a 2012 study from the Journal of Affective Disorders found participants with depression spending time in a natural setting experienced a positive increase in mood five times as great as that of a healthy individual.”

Project EverGreen is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing green spaces throughout the United States. Its best-known program, GreenCare for Troops, pairs local landscape volunteers with military families to provide free lawn and landscape services while a loved one is deployed overseas.

Project EverGreen will invite several recipients of its GreenCare for Troops (GCFT) program to participate in the event. GCFT is a national service that connects military families with volunteers to take care of their landscape needs free of charge while a loved one is deployed with the military.

The soil damage caused by Hurricane Sandy’s flood surges left numerous dead and dying London Plane, American Sycamore and Pin Oak trees, that were hazardous to people and property on Liberty and Ellis islands. To correct the situation Project EverGreen partnered with Paul Cowie & Associates Arborist Consultants, who donated tree care survey and soil remediation management plans. Husqvarna provided professional climbing, ground and felling saws for the projects, and Bartlett Tree Experts donated crews, trucks and equipment to conduct the work needed on both islands. New Jersey-based Lawn Doctor provided aeration and application equipment.

To make the extensive sodic soil remediation treatments possible, Solu-Cal USA donated 16,000 pounds of enhanced gypsum, and NJ-based Lidochem Inc. provided KaPre ExAlt surfactant product in in-kind donation for the project. In total, all in-kind product and service donations organized by Project EverGreen to help restore and renew the landscapes on both Ellis and Liberty islands equates to an equivalent retail cost approaching $35,000.

Husqvarna’s Gent Simmons talks about why the company donated time, energy and equipment to Project EverGreen’s Liberty Island revitalization project.