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Liberty Island, NY

Completion Date:

June 10, 2014

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

Partner Groups:

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

Estimated Value:

Over $50,000

Restoring Sacred Ground

Project EverGreen mobilizes partners and volunteers to restore Liberty Island’s 9/11 Memorial Grove that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in October 1886 and served to welcome immigrants seeking freedom in the United States. In 2012, 126 years later, almost to the day, Hurricane Sandy left Liberty Island under five feet of salt water destroying the trees planted there to honor the victims of 9/11.

“This is the Statue of Liberty, one of the most recognized landmarks in the world,” says Brian Tauscher, owner of Artisan Garden Landscapes. “To be able to say that you’re involved in helping to restore part of Liberty Island that was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy — as an American, as a citizen — it is an honor to be here and be part of this.”

Project EverGreen, a national non-profit that preserves and enhances green spaces in our communities where we live, work and play, spearheaded a dedicated group of volunteers for this historic project. Collectively, the group installed a dozen 14-ft tall London plane trees, spread 2,000 pounds of mulch, aerated the ground, and spread 16,000 pounds of enhanced gypsum to treat the damaged soil on both Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial Grove that rests in the shadow of Lady Liberty.  The total revitalization effort is valued at an estimated $50,000.

Piltzecker Letter






Piltzecker Letter

The sacred site – which offers a view of the Lower Manhattan skyline, including the spot where the World Trade Center once stood – provides visitors a place to rest and reflect on the 2001 tragedy.  Over 160,000 square feet, nearly 4 acres of turfgrass were aerated and treated with gypsum on both Liberty and Ellis Islands. Gypsum works to reduce the salt content in the soil, creating a healthier, sustainable environment for grass, plants and trees. In addition, more than 17 gallons of soil surfactant were donated to help remediate the extremely high saline soil levels on both islands.

Healthy green spaces not only connect people to their communities and surroundings, they are proven to have a mental healing effect, like those dealing with a loss of a loved one from the 9/11 tragedy. “Just 30 minutes in an urban nature environment, like the 9/11 Memorial Grove, can have positive effects on stress relief,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen.

That group that worked on Liberty Island included Tauscher, members of Project EverGreen’s board and advisory council and a host of green industry companies. The project required nearly a year of planning, preparation and logistics and culminated June 10 with the planting of those trees at the site dedicated by the Ladies Auxiliary of Foreign Wars shortly after 9/11.

“I really wanted to get involved when I heard Project EverGreen was doing work on Liberty Island,” said Marco Goncalves, of Clean Cut Lawn, Westchester. “It wasn’t about recognition; it’s about being able to contribute to our country.”

“It was placed there very early after 9/11, when emotions here were extremely high,” says John Hnedak, deputy superintendent, Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. “It’s very subtle. If you do know what it is and can turn around and look at where the twin towers used to be, the meaning will definitely deepen for you.”

Currently a plaque adorns the wall next to the memorial grove, explaining the reason the trees were planted. In addition to the trees, Project EverGreen will have a second plaque installed explaining the organization’s role in the grove’s re-dedication.

A number of organizations contributed to the project to ensure its completion on time and with the proper professional outcome. The work started long before June 10. Paul Cowie of Paul Cowie & Associates donated a soil analysis and remediation treatment program to the NPS for Liberty and Ellis islands, both of which were under five feet of salt water following Hurricane Sandy flood surges.  Cowie was also instrumental in mobilizing several of the other participating NJ and NY contractor donors and helped coordinate the onsite landscaping installations. SoluCal USA donated the 8 pallets of gypsum; and the 12 London Plane trees were donated and delivered to the site by Plant Detectives Nursery & Garden Center.  Lawn Doctor and CleanCut Lawns & Landscape spent time on both islands aerating and spreading the gypsum.

“A lot of people come to us and say they want to help,” Hnedak says. “The difference between the random people who want to volunteer (and Project EverGreen) is not only are you organized, there’s a lot of credibility in your group. You have people like Paul (Cowie) and others, who can supply the kind of expertise that we don’t have on staff anymore.”

Because Project EverGreen stepped up, the work on the 9/11 Memorial Grove was completed without the need for the National Park Service to go through a long and labored consulting and contracting process.

“To be able to hand that over to a group like (Project EverGreen) is a luxurious thing,” Hnedak says. “It’s really nice to just have it happen.”

Apparently, it’s also nice to be a part of the project. “When they asked me to get involved my initial response was, ‘yes,’” says Tauscher. “Just being here is an honor. More people should be doing this, giving back.” Artisan Gardens did a lot of prep work and handled much of the logistics for the day of the plantings. That involved getting the London plane trees, 70 bags of mulch, shovels, rakes and other tools to the island. The mulch and additional tree planting tools were provided by Almstead Tree & Shrub Care.

“The National Park Service has been gracious and helpful. They’ve been very accommodating,” Tauscher says.

Though more than 40 workers spent hours digging, planting and mulching, several took a moment to reflect on the magnitude of what they were doing. “The fact that Project EverGreen spearheaded this and saw that there was a problem and corralled all sorts of people in the industry to get this done, it’s amazing,” Tauscher says. “It’s really humbling to be here and be part of this and to say generations to come will come and see these trees. Maybe one day I’ll come back with my grandkids, and I can say, ‘This grove of trees here. This is what I helped plant.’”

George Iannaccone, branch manager with John Deere Landscapes on Long Island, drove more than an hour to participate.

“It was a nice chance to leave a legacy,” he says. “How many times do you get a chance to plant trees at the Statue of Liberty? I think it’s a great thing. It’s a great thing what Project EverGreen does. They do a lot of great work across the country. This time it was only 60 miles away, so I had to make the trek to come.”

The unique opportunity to participate on the project was a common theme among many of the volunteers. Andrew Cinque, a Long Island resident who works for Lebanon Turf Products had an additional reason. His son serves as an assistant captain on the Staten Island Ferry.

“I went through Hurricane Sandy,” Cinque says. “The water stopped a block from my house. It’s an honor to be here today.” Cinque says. “It’s a great cause and we want to be a part of it going into the future.”

Lebanon Turf donated Tree Saver, which provides a healthy start to the tree, particularly the roots.

The 9/11 Memorial Grove is actually Project EverGreen’s second project with the National Park Service. Late last year, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Park Service, the organization worked to restore the German-American Friendship Garden, which serves as an entry way to the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. That project also served as a gateway to work on future renovation work with the National Park Service.

“The Project EverGreen board, advisory council and contractor volunteers worked side-by-side to return the grove area to its pre-Hurricane Sandy beauty,” Code says. “While much of the work was done in advance – including soil analysis, removal of dead trees, aeration and gypsum application – the icing on the cake was the installation of a dozen beautiful 14-foot London Plane trees. The pride and enthusiasm was evident on the faces of all who joined in.”

Other partners in the project included: Bartlett Tree Experts, Husqvarna, Levitt’s LLC,  Lidochem, Inc., New Jersey Nursery & Landscape Association, PLANET (Professional Landcare Network), and Weed Man. Jersey Mike’s Subs of Holmdel and Middletown provided sandwiches and bottled water for the volunteers.
Project EverGreen and Partners to Restore Liberty National 9/11 Memorial Grove
Volunteers will plant new trees, treat damaged soil and re-dedicate the site ravaged by Hurricane Sandy

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.

(For more see The Project EverGreen Blog)

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.

The 9/11 Memorial Grove revitalization day will feature:

• Re-planting about 12 new London Plane trees.
• Mulching of the 9/11 Memorial Grove and several nearby tree beds.
• Installation of small commemorative sign by the Project EverGreen board and volunteers with New Jersey Nursery and Landscape Association.
• New Jersey applicator volunteers will also donate post-Sandy sodic soil treatments at 9/11 Grove and Ellis Island with Project EverGreen board assistance.

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.

February 2014

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.”

If you are interested in being a part of this rare opportunity, please contact us at 877.758.4835 or send an email to