To honor the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives when their plane was forced down near Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001, the National Park Foundation is creating the Flight 93 National Memorial. Davey is helping with preservation efforts of trees and shrubs throughout the 2,200-acre site.
The memorial will conserve the immediate area of the crash, offer a private reflection area for families of the deceased, and create an area to educate and inspire the general public. The area, on a plateau between the Allegheny and Laurel mountains, currently serves as a temporary memorial where visitors leave trinkets and notes to honor the Americans who became heroes on that fateful United Airlines flight.
Davey volunteered to develop a baseline survey of existing vegetation and to provide guidelines for care of existing trees and future plantings throughout the memorial setting.
“The first objective was to determine the species of the trees now growing inside the boundaries of the Memorial and assess their health and growing conditions,” said Ken Christensen, senior biologist with Davey Resource Group. “We randomly selected 10 plots and identified the trees in them, and, using GPS technology, we recorded their locations so the conditions can be tracked over time. By recording species, age, size and general health, we’ve created a baseline for tree health in the park.”
Inside the grove that surrounds the crash impact zone, special attention was given to the health of the hemlocks. Soil samples were taken for analysis, which will allow for recommendations for the best plants and care for the plot, said Anand Persad, Davey Institute technical advisor and entomologist.
Additionally, Davey evaluated the landscape plan, which includes 40 groves of trees that honor each of the 40 people crash victims.
“We are offering suggestions about tree species that will thrive in conditions there. Although the plan is already in place, our findings will help guide its implementation,” said Dan Joy, vice president of Davey Commercial Landscape Services.
The first phase of the memorial will be dedicated on Sept. 11, 2011.