PHOTO: the Survivor Tree at the 9/11 World Trade Center site.  Credit Monika Graff

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ -   State certified tree expert Paul Cowie will present a program highlighting the Survivor Tree at the 9/11 World Trade Center site at the Atlantic Highlands Harbor Senior Citizens Center Thursday, April 12, at 7 p.m. 

The Survivor Tree was the last living thing to be removed from the rubble of Ground Zero, and Cowie will give details of how the tree was rescued, cared for, and restored to health to be returned to the site and begin a seedling program that enables communities to get seedlings for their own communities.

Cowie, who is also a certified arborist with the International Society of Arboriculture, was the design team specialist for landscaper architect Peter Walker & Partners in designing and implementing tree plantings at the national 9-11 Memorial at Ground Zero. His presentation at the Seniors Citizen Center will provide a review and insight into the design requirements for the trees, the complex challenges the design team faced, and the specialized arboricultural techniques needed to meet the requirements.

Cowie is bringing the techniques and intricate detail required for the national project to the simpler arboricultural principals which should be addressed, he said, with every tree planting. These include selecting the proper species to suit the environment, providing space that ensures growth requirements over future years, and manipulating growth rates and tree form to minimize transplant mortality and ensure long-term sustainability.  Cowie will present photographs, stories and technical reviews of the steps taken during the six years of working on the 9-11 plantings.

Cowie earned his undergraduate degree in Natural Resource Management with a focus on forestry at Rutgers University before engaging in more than 30 years’ experience in urban forestry and arboriculture. He is past president of the NJ Arborists Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture and founder of Paul Cowie & Associates, a consulting firm that provides expert advice on the preservation, enhancement and long-term management of shade trees and urban forest resources. He oversaw the preservation of historic trees during the Ellis Island restoration, was a co-contributor to the design for restoring the Constitution Gardens at the National Mall in Washington, DC, and an assistant in the design and implementation of  $50 million restoration projects and development for Branch Brook Park in Newark. He has also completed tree inventories and worked on landscape master plans for the UN Headquarters in NY, Princeton University and Cadwallader Park.

Established by borough ordinance in 1926, the Atlantic Highlands Shade Tree Commission has been a Tree City for the past 37 years, one of only 6 per cent of all communities in the Garden State to hold the honor. Its mission has always been to plant, nurture and maintain all trees in the borough, as well as honor municipal residents through plantings, sponsor poster contests, library sessions, public tree plantings and a variety of other programs highlighting the importance of trees and their care in any community.

In addition to Cowie’s presentation the April 12 meeting will also include tree information, a raffle, and light refreshments.  The public is invited to attend, no reservations are necessary. The meeting and program begin at 7 p.m.