The Davey Tree Expert Company had a presence at the dedication and commemoration of the United Airlines Flight 93 National Memorial the weekend of Sept. 11.
Davey experts have been involved in helping shape the memorial's special groves and outdoor areas since 2009.
Davey Tree Shapes Flight 93 Memorial
By Thomas Gallick, Record-Courier
Ten years after the 9/11 attacks, the Kent-based Davey Tree Expert Company is helping to make sure the nation remembers United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed near Shanksville, Pa., after a struggle between passengers and hijackers.
The Flight 93 National Memorial at a former strip mine near the town of Shanksville, in western Pennsylvania, was dedicated Saturday.
Karen Wise, manager of natural resource consulting at Davey Tree, said the fundraising arm of the National Park Service originally approached the firm about contributing to the Flight 93 National Memorial.
The memorial commemorates the 33 passengers and seven crew members on Flight 93 who fought for control of the plane with four hijackers likely attempting to fly it into the United States Capitol. The flight eventually crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township, Pa., killing everyone on board.
“What we offered was technical expertise,” Wise said. “We felt we could help with looking at the landscape plans, the revegetation plans and some of the existing trees they wanted to save on the site.”
Starting in 2009, the company sent a team of arborists, biologists, landscape specialists and soil scientists to confer with employees of the National Park Service.
Wise said beyond the damage done by the crash, the memorial site had been “decimated” in years prior to 2001 due to surface mining for coal.
“It was just barren, basically,” she said. “There’s an opportunity to heal through landscape.”
One of the major thrusts of the project is to transform the area surrounding the crash site into a hardwood forest typical of Pennsylvania.
Davey Tree also won multiple contracts for the massive memorial site’s landscaping work, to install and care for thousands of shrubs, trees and other plants.
Plans for the memorial call for 140,000 new trees including 40 memorial groves of 40 trees each in honor of the passengers and crew, and the moving of 550,000 cubic yards of soil.
Construction on the 2,200-acre memorial will take part in three phases. Phase one includes the completed, or currently under construction, Memorial Wall of Names, Flight Path Walkway and access road to the crash site among other features.
Davey Tree had a presence at the dedication of phase one construction Saturday, which featured a speech from Vice President Joe Biden, and will send a representative to the site’s commemoration of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 today, which will be attended by President Barack Obama.
The full cost of the memorial is estimated at $72 million, with $24 million coming from the federal government, $18 million from Pennsylvania and the rest from private donations. The full project is expected to be completed by 2014.
A separate fundraising effort will be needed for a planned 93-foot high “Tower of Voices” on the memorial site, which will feature 40 wind chimes meant to represent the 40 crew members and passengers of Flight 93.
Davey Tree recently submitted a bid on the landscaping associated with the Tower of Voices.”
The area directly surrounding the actual crash site, which is being called “The Sacred Ground” will not be altered in the construction of the memorial.
Wise said working on the project has been an emotional experience for many Davey Tree Employees.
“It’s been incredible to work on it and actually meet some of the family members.” Wise said. “It’s inspiring and we’re very proud to work on it.”
The project is not the first work the company has done to restore an area affected in the 9/11 attacks. Davey Tree took part in a landscape refurbishment at the Pentagon during repair efforts after it was struck by another hijacked plane.