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The Survivor Tree

In an issue dedicated to storm preparedness you’ve probably already read about some of the destructive natural forces that trees face, not to mention the long list of pests and diseases we’ve come to know and fear.  Much of our work revolves around trying to protect and preserve our trees from these threats, and rightly so.  However, every once and a while, trees surprise us with their resiliency.  While visiting the 9/11 memorial during a trip to New York City last year I was reminded of this.  Some of you may already know the story, but there is one tree at the park, a Callery pear nonetheless, known as the “Survivor Tree” located between the two reflecting pools.  It somehow managed to withstand the devastation of the terrorist attack and collapse of the Twin Towers that day, and with some love and care it was nursed back to health and replanted at Ground Zero.  Every year, seedlings from the tree are given to three communities that have had a recent tragedy.  As the manager of a memorial tree program in my city, I’ve seen how planting a tree can be a therapeutic experience for those dealing with a loss.  So, it\'s true that trees need our help to thrive, but they can also serve as a powerful symbol of survival and renewal.

Andy Piper, AICP
Senior Planner
City of High Point