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Forest Lawn Announces Completion of Comprehensive Landscape Renewal Plan, Details for Phase I Implementation.Posted on October 30th, 2012
Event with Re-Tree WNY This Weekend to Include Planting 200 Trees.
Buffalo, NY – In March – just seven months ago – Forest Lawn announced it had commissioned Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners, to create a comprehensive Landscape Renewal Plan aimed at “returning the forest to Forest Lawn.” The Plan, made possible by a generous $250,000 grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation, calls for the phased replanting of Forest Lawn’s historic overarching tree canopy in response to successive losses over the years from disease and weather events, including devastation from the surprise October 2006 snowstorm. During the 2006 storm, Forest Lawn sustained more than $1.2 million in damage to its historic landscape: approximately 700 of the cemetery’s trees were downed or removed; 90 percent were damaged and in need of professional care. As part of the Plan, approximately 4,000 trees will be planted throughout Forest Lawn over a 12-year period,eventually bringing the total number of trees to 6,200.
At a press conference today, Forest Lawn announced the completion of the approximately 400-page Plan, which is the strategic vision that sets a clear future course for the restoration of trees and overall landscape character to this nationally significant historic landscape. Forest Lawn also announced its plans for implementation of Phase I of the Plan.
“The Landscape Renewal Plan is the guiding testament for the present and successive generations of Forest Lawn management and staff – and the community at large – to recreate Forest Lawn’s unique and singularly important landscape,” says Joseph P. Dispenza, Forest Lawn President. It will take Forest Lawn back to the 1959 period of significance when all the historic nineteenth century “picturesque garden” cemetery landscape designs and the “landscape lawn” cemetery landscapes popular from the 1930s through post-World War II were fully in place. The Plan calls for the re-establishment of the original, soaring, overarching canopy of very tall trees that command the viewer to look upward to the Heavens, and creates the cathedral-like interior to inspire visitors through the divinity in nature.” The Landscape Renewal Plan is based on Forest Lawn’s original landscape plan created by Joseph Earnshaw, an engineer from Cincinnati Ohio and Adolf Strauch, a landscape architect. Both were world-class nineteenth century innovators of the rural garden cemetery “Landscape Lawn Design.”
Tree Planting Event This Weekend to Kick Off Phase I of the Plan.
Also at today’s press conference, Forest Lawn announced its plans to implement Phase I of the Landscape Renewal Plan this Friday and Saturday, October 26 and October 27, with the planting of approximately 200 bare root deciduous trees (maple, oak and hickory) along the inside perimeter of Forest Lawn. The trees have been donated by Re-Tree WNY, a volunteer program of Keep Western New York Beautiful, in response to Forest Lawn’s devastating loss during the October 2006 storm.
“We have seen many tragic stories emerge from the October 2006 storm, but thankfully, Forest Lawn’s will have a very happy ending,” says Paul Maurer, Chairman, Re-Tree WNY. “Joseph Dispenza and his crew have activated an exciting transformation of their historic property. You will soon see an arborist’s dream, a landscape as wonderful as Earnshaw and Strauch first laid out for Forest Lawn. Re-Tree WNY and our dedicated volunteers are happy to be a part of this historic undertaking.”
The public is invited to assist with the tree planting, which will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on both days. No experience is necessary. Families are welcome. More information can be obtained at www.forest-lawn.com.
“‘The Future Is Our Past’ is our mission statement that reminds us of the past greatness of Forest Lawn, Buffalo and all of Western New York, and inspires us to recreate that greatness for the future,” says Dispenza. “Forest Lawn was the first deliberately landscaped green space in Western New York, and one of the first in New York State. Over the years and for various reasons, that landscape has been drastically altered. As stated in the Executive Summary, the Landscape Renewal Plan ‘envisions Forest Lawn’s future in continuity with the past, recapturing the moment in time when a contemplative, rural cemetery-styled landscape coexisted with the clean lines and open sky of the memorial park style cemetery.’ We are very excited about returning the forest to the lawns and recreating our world-class landscape for present and future generations to enjoy.”