Tree Planting Ceremony Kicks Off Project of National Significance
Oatlands to Dedicate More than 400 Trees as Pilot Site for the Journey Through
Hallowed Ground Partnership’s Living Legacy Project
Celebration Highlights Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation
WATERFORD, Va., November 14, 2012—A sweeping and ambitious effort to plant or dedicate a tree for each of the more than 620,000 soldiers who died during the America Civil War kicks off at 10 a.m. on November 20th at Oatlands, A National Trust Historic Site. To commemorate the Sesquicentennial of The American Civil War, the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership has launched an initiative of national significance called the Living Legacy Project.
Oatlands is collaborating with the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership to launch the first phase of the extensive tree planting project on their property. Oatlands is at the geographical center of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, and as one of two National Trust Historic Sites within the corridor, is proud to be the first to host the Living Legacy Project. More than 400 trees will be either planted or dedicated at Oatlands as part of this program.
The Living Legacy Project will eventually stretch along the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway, a 180-mile swath of land that runs from Gettysburg, PA to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, VA. The JTHG National Scenic Byway, which crosses the Mason Dixon Line, serves as a link to each of the battlefields and connects over 30 historic communities, each of which was gravely impacted by the Civil War. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area holds the largest concentration of Civil War battlefield sites in the country, including the beginning of the War (Harpers Ferry and Manassas), the middle (Antietam and Gettysburg) and the end, (Appomattox).
As part of the ceremonial tree planting on November 20th, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton and National Trust for Historic Preservation President and Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Meeks will be providing keynote remarks. Both entities, along with the Civil War Trust and many of the 350 organizational partners of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership are actively engaged with the Living Legacy Project.
Oatlands Board Chair Michael J. O’Connor stated “Oatlands and the National Trust for Historic Preservation are committed to sustainability at our site and for our community and the country. Trees play a central role in the history at Oatlands, from the magnificent maples and oaks that line the drive, to the stunning specimen trees that preside over Oatlands historic buildings and walled garden. The trees, many of which were standing during the Civil War, are considered premier and priceless specimens. The planting of over 400 trees for the Living Legacy project will reduce our carbon footprint, create a wonderful habit for wildlife, improve air quality, provide shade for our visitors, and increase the natural beauty of Oatlands, while honoring the rich history and sacrifice of those who have gone before us. “
“We believe this is the time and place to create and implement a living legacy that continues to heal the wounds as it humbles every American with a perspective on the tragedy of the war. Oatlands is to be commended for being the first partner to implement the Living Legacy Project,” said Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership Board Chair David F. Williams, whose family owns property adjacent to the site and has also agreed to participate in the initiative. “This is the heart and soul of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Scenic Byway and these trees will not only improve and unify the landscape along the corridor but are a fitting tribute to the fallen soldiers of America’s Civil War.”
President Abraham Lincoln, in his proclamation announcing the Thanksgiving holiday in 1863 invited the country “to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day for Thanksgiving and Praise… commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.” The Living Legacy Project ceremony, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the Carriage House at Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, invokes the words of Lincoln in the solemn dedication of this monumental memorial effort.
The Living Legacy Project will create a unified color palette that reminds visitors that they are, indeed, on hallowed ground. Upon completion, this initiative will create the first 180 mile landscaped allee in the world and the only allee dedicated to honoring the most defining moment in American history. A signature palette of seasonal trees and plantings, including redbuds, red oaks, red maple, and red cedar have been selected to represent the courage and valor of the individuals being honored with this project. A secondary palette, including canopy and understory trees, evergreens, shrubs, and ground coverings, will also feature red as a predominant color, with plantings including black gum trees, sassafras, and winterberry. The native selection is appropriate to the diverse landscapes along this historic corridor, and remains sensitive to the local ecology, scenic views, and development patterns.
The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is actively engaged in raising the necessary funds to complete this $65 million initiative. Individuals, businesses, schools, and community groups from around the world can contribute to this project. The JTHG Partnership is seeking $100 contributions to support and plant each tree. Donors may select a soldier to honor, as the trees will be geo-tagged to allow Smart Phone users to learn the story of the soldier, providing a strong educational component to engage interest in the region’s historical heritage and literally bringing the tree to life. For more information on the Living Legacy Project, visit www.hallowedground.org.
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The JTHG Partnership is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the unparalleled historic, natural, and cultural landscape within the swath of land from Monticello to Gettysburg and has successfully created the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area and has had the Old Carolina Road (Rt. 15/20/231) from Gettysburg, through Maryland, to Monticello designated a National Scenic Byway. This is the region Where America Happened™, as it contains more history than any other region in the nation and includes: World Heritage sites, 16 National Historic Landmarks, over 10,000 sites on the National Register of Historic Places, 49 National Historic Districts, nine Presidential homes, 13 National Parks, hundreds of African American and Native American heritage sites, 30 Historic Main Street communities, sites from the Revolutionary War, the French-Indian War, the War of 1812 and the largest concentration of American Civil War sites in the nation. For more information, go to: www.HallowedGround.org.
Oatlands Historic House and Gardens is a National Trust Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark. Tours of the Classical Revival mansion are offered daily and visitors may enjoy the four-and-a-half acres of historic gardens. The property boasts the oldest greenhouse in Virginia. A full yearly calendar of family friendly events is offered. Oatlands is dedicated to preserving the property as a national treasure of natural, cultural and historic significance. Call 703-777-3174 for additional information or visit www.oatlands.org.