At the CTPA Summer Meeting, Mark Bays, Urban Forestry Coordinator with the State of Oklahoma gave a stirring talk on the story of the Oklahoma City Survivor Tree. For those who missed it, the Survivor Tree is an American elm that managed to survive the domestic terrorism attack of April 19, 1995 – the Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 innocent people as it destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. It has been Mark’s responsibility since shortly after the bombing to look after this tree, which is now incorporated as a key feature in the Oklahoma City National Memorial, designed and built to remember those lost and to help the rest of us to continue to move forward.
Interestingly, CTPA’s current President, Allan Fenner, has a connection with the Oklahoma City Survivor Tree. Back in the early 2000’s, an offspring of the tree in Oklahoma was donated to the State of Connecticut. This Survivor Tree offspring was planted on the lawn of the State Office Building in Hartford. It was growing there until about two years ago, when it needed to be moved to allow for State Office Building to be extensively renovated. Allan, a consulting arborist with Sav-A-Tree, was given the assignment of overseeing the transplanting of the Hartford tree and its ongoing recovery and growth.
On the Friday following the meeting, Allan greeted Mark at the offspring of the tree that Mark has come to know so well. The Hartford tree is thriving, as can be seen in the photos of the tree. Mark was pleased to see how an Oklahoma native had taken root in the Nutmeg State.
Mark was also very happy to have been able to let the folks at the CTPA Summer Meeting know about the original Survivor Tree. Mark has asked that CTPA share the following two links. The first is to the video that was shown at the end of the second of his talks – for various reasons, it did not get played at the end of the first talk. The second is a link to where people can get a Survivor Tree of their, with some of that money going back to the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
Here is the link for the Survivor Tree Video:
This is the link to the Survivor Tree offspring offer: