Living Legacy Tree Planting Project
Celebrated 500 Newly Dedicated Trees as Part of the
Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership’s National Project
to Honor Fallen Civil War Soldiers.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership could not be more grateful to the Southern Nursery Association for inviting the organization to participate in SNA 2014. The JTHG Partnership was on hand to introduce the Living Legacy Tree Planting Project, an initiative of national significance to appropriately commemorate the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War, to those attending in Atlanta. The Living Legacy Tree Planting Project is a sweeping and ambitious effort to plant or dedicate a tree for each of the 750,000 soldiers who died during the America Civil War. Each tree is geotaged to share the name of the soldier, where he was born, where he died and include the story of the soldier’s life.
Just weeks prior to traveling down to SNA 2014, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership hosted its most recent tree dedication ceremony, which took place June 29th at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens in Leesburg, Virginia. These particular trees were planted adjacent to Oatlands property along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, which was designated by Congress as 99th scenic byway in the country. Oatlands is at the geographical center of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway and is as one of two National Trust for Historic Preservation sites within the corridor. The property is also widely known for its beautiful and historic trees on site.
The June 29th event marked the seventh planting ceremony to date. The organization was thrilled to welcome “The Commandant's Own," the United States Marine Drum and Bugle Corps and the official Color Guard of the Marine Corps, who participated in the ceremony. The ceremony was scheduled the week of Independence Day, and served as a reminder of the sacrifice made by generations before.
Each ceremony is special as it is intended as an opportunity to honor each fallen soldier for whom the trees are planted. Previous tree plantings have taken place in Leesburg, Virginia, Williamsport, Maryland, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and have included such dignitaries as National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, National Trust for Historic Preservation President Stephanie Meeks, former Virginia Department of Transportation Secretary Sean Connaughton, Ancestry.com Senior Executive Brock Bierman, and others.
As plantings continue, the Living Legacy Tree Project will eventually stretch along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The JTHG National Scenic Byway, which crosses the Mason Dixon Line, serves as a link to each of the battlefields and connects over 30 historic communities, each of which was gravely impacted by the Civil War. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area holds the largest concentration of Civil War battlefield sites in the country, including the beginning of the War (Harpers Ferry and Manassas), the middle (Antietam and Gettysburg) and the end, (Appomattox).
The Living Legacy Project will create a unified color palette that reminds visitors that they are, indeed, on hallowed ground. Upon completion, this initiative will create the first 180 mile landscaped allee in the world and the only allee dedicated to honoring the most defining moment in American history. A signature palette of seasonal trees and plantings, including redbuds, red oaks, red maple, and red cedar have been selected to represent the courage and valor of the individuals being honored with this project. A secondary palette, including canopy and understory trees, evergreens, shrubs, and ground coverings, will also feature red as a predominant color, with plantings including black gum trees, sassafras, and winterberry. The native selection is appropriate to the diverse landscapes along this historic corridor, and remains sensitive to the local ecology, scenic views, and development patterns.
Horticulturist, Author, and Expert Michael A. Dirr, Ph.D. who was at SNA 2014 as well said: "The Living Legacy Tree Project touched me when I read about it in USA Today, such a noble tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, said Michael A. Dirr, Ph.D, a horticulturist, author, and one of the leading experts on horticulture. “How could anyone not want to contribute to such a movement?
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is actively engaged in raising the necessary funds to complete this $65 million initiative. Individuals, businesses, schools, and community groups from around the world can contribute to this project. For example, trees for the most recent planting came from Tennessee-based Jackson Nursery. Ray and Cindy Jackson immediately wanted to help out with this project and did so by donating 15 Rising Sun Redbuds and provided 250 additional trees at a very low cost.
The JTHG Partnership is seeking $100 contributions to support and plant each tree. Donors may select a soldier to honor, as the trees will be geo-tagged to allow Smart Phone users to learn the story of the soldier, providing a strong educational component to engage interest in the region’s historical heritage and literally bringing the tree to life. For more information on the Living Legacy Project, visit www.hallowedgroundtrees.org.
The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled historic, natural, and cultural landscape within the swath of land from Monticello to Gettysburg and has successfully created the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and has had the Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/20/231) from Gettysburg, through Maryland, to Monticello designated a National Scenic Byway. This is the region Where America Happened™, as it contains more history than any other region in the nation and includes: World Heritage sites, 16 National Historic Landmarks, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic Districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 Historic Main Street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, the French-Indian War, the War of 1812 and the largest concentration of American Civil War sites in the nation. For more information, go to: www.HallowedGround.org.