The Survivor Tree

A callery pear tree became known as the Survivor Tree after enduring the September 11, 2001 terror attacks at the World Trade Center. In October 2001, the tree was discovered at
ground zero severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. The tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival and rebirth.

Robert Zappala (L) and Richie Cabo with the callery pear at Arthur Ross Nursery in November 2001.
Photo courtesy of the city Parks Department.

The 9/11 Memorial began a tree seedling program on Sept. 11, 2013, in partnership with Stamford, Conn.-based Bartlett Tree Experts and John Bowne High School in the Flushing
neighborhood of Queens, N.Y. John Bowne High School cares for the seedlings as part of the school’s agriculture curriculum.

Seedlings have been shared with communities around the world that have endured tragedy. Recipient communities have committed to nurturing these trees to serve as landmarks symbolizing resiliency and hope.

The 2022 recipients include:
• Ukraine, to honor the thousands of Ukrainian casualties from the unprovoked war with Russia.
• Buffalo, New York, the site of a mass shooting, which killed 10 people and wounded three.
• The community of Miami-Dade County, Florida, the site of a residential condominium collapse,
which killed 98 people in the small, beachside town of Surfside.

Past recipient communities include the WHO, Oslo and Utøya, Norway, Santa Fe, TX, the Bahamas, Christchurch, New Zealand, five NYC hospitals, Parkland, FL, London, U.K., Puerto Rico, Newtown, CT, Joplin, MO, Madrid, Spain, Far Rockaways in Queens, NY, Prescott, AZ and Boston, MA.

Learn more about the Survivor Tree and the seedling program here.

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