9-11 Survivor Trees Find Their Home at SUNY Cobleskill

On November 6, 2014, a delivery unlike any other arrived at the SUNY Cobleskill campus, gifting the College with twelve 9-11 Survivor Trees seedlings; saplings which have been propagated from the sole surviving tree from the World Trade Center. Steve Perry, Assistant Principal of John Bowne High School and SUNY Cobleskill Alumnus, joined David McMaster, Vice President of Bartlett Tree Experts, and John Bowne students in presenting SUNY Cobleskill with the pear trees, each 10-12 feet tall, which will be held throughout the winter season within the campus’ arboretum and planted in remembrance in the spring.

The Survivor Tree Seedling Program is a partnership between Bartlett Tree Experts who presently care for the Survivor Tree, and John Bowne High School. The seeds from the Survivor Tree are collected by Bartlett Tree Expert Scientists and placed in the care of students within the John Bowne Agricultural High School in Queens, New York. Each year, saplings are then given to communities affected by the tragedy.

SUNY Cobleskill has a long standing partnership with John Bowne High School. Their familiarity with our campus, and the green spaces which would make an ideal setting for these trees made this project a perfect fit. “One of the highlights of my career is to be able to share with Cobleskill something that was shared with our school because of our connection with David McMaster and the Bartlett Tree Experts,” said Steve Perry. “As an alum of SUNY Cobleskill, I am so happy to be able to connect John Bowne High School Agricultural Program to SUNY Cobleskill through the Survivor Tree Program.”

“We, as a campus, have accepted the responsibility to nurture and care for these seedlings of the ‘Survivor Trees’. They symbolize persistence, growth and vitality, while also serving as a remembrance of the past. We thank the John Bowne School, the Bartlett Tree Company and all of the people of New York City for including us in this project of renewal, regrowth and remembrance. The trees will be planted in a special location on the SUNY Cobleskill campus next spring as a part of the Arbor Day Celebration; which is a day to celebrate life and the importance of trees and environment to our world,” said Chris Cash, Associate Professor of Animal and Plant Science at SUNY Cobleskill.

The original Bradford pear tree, which once stood distinguished in front of the World Trade Center, was noticed amongst the debris, rubble and ruins left in the wake of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, its trunk the only feature remaining. Removed from the wreckage, the trunk had sprouted various leaves and was promptly placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Presently recovered and rehabilitated, the pear tree, now known as the “Survivor Tree,” is currently cared for by the Bartlett Tree Experts at the World Trade Memorial – continuing to be a beacon of resilience and rebirth.