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Forest Lawn Unveils Unparalleled Landscape Renewal Plan to Fully Return The "Forest" to Forest LawnPosted on March 8th, 2012
Plan made possible by a generous grant from The John R. Oishei Foundation.
Buffalo, NY – The trustees of Forest Lawn today unveiled an unparalleled Landscape Renewal Plan to “return the forest to Forest Lawn” through the restoration of its historic tree canopy. The plan includes setting a clear future course for the restoration of trees and the overall landscape character to preserve the historic integrity of this important landmark, one of the first deliberately-designed and professionally-landscaped rural cemeteries in the United States.
Forest Lawn’s Landscape Renewal Plan was made possible by a generous grant of $250,000 from The John R. Oishei Foundation. “The Directors of the Oishei Foundation were very impressed with Forest Lawn’s strategic intent to create a master plan with a leading landscape architect as the foundation for its future restoration efforts,” says Robert D. Gioia, President, The John R. Oishei Foundation. “We are pleased to be part of this significant step in preserving this important historic cultural and educational destination for future generations to enjoy.”
In 2006, during the October Surprise Storm, Forest Lawn sustained more than $1.2 million in damage to its historic landscape and peerless tree canopy. Approximately 700 of the cemetery’s 3,300+ trees were downed or removed; 90 percent were damaged and in need of professional care.
As a result of the storm, Forest Lawn began an extensive strategic plan to properly develop, plan and chart a future to help leverage its unique position as the region’s first landscaped green space, as well as a cultural heritage and lifelong learning destination. Its management and trustees made the strategic decision to temporarily forego the replanting of Forest Lawn until the cemetery could complete a comprehensive, historic research and landscape renewal plan based on the original landscape plan by Mr. Joseph Earnshaw, an engineer from Cincinnati Ohio and Mr. Adolf Strauch, a landscape architect; both were world-class 19th century innovators of the rural garden cemetery “Landscape Lawn Design.”
Forest Lawn commissioned Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners to create and implement this comprehensive plan, which includes documenting the landscape history and evolution over 163 years; analyzing the historic landscape character and integrity; digitally mapping and inventorying the existing trees; preparing detailed plans for replanting trees to restore tree canopy and diversity and more. Heritage Landscapes has extensive experience with historic cemetery landscape, as well as major landscape preservation projects for national parks, monuments and botanical gardens, including Western New York’s Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, Richardson Olmsted Complex and Buffalo Olmsted Park and Parkway System; its founder and principal, Patricia O’Donnell, is a native of Buffalo.
“This capital project will have one of the greatest present impacts on the various constituencies utilizing Forest Lawn as a life learning center and cultural heritage destination,” says Charles F. Kreiner, Jr., Director of the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation.
“Additionally, the plan will deliver a template to further collaborate with sister cultural institutions and provide the Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation with a strategic work plan for building our volunteer base, and provide a visible working “web document” to solicit prospective donors for ongoing horticultural support,” says Kreiner.
About The Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation
The vision of The Forest Lawn Heritage Foundation is to:
- sustain the beauty by providing and conserving a physical environment – chapel, monuments, bridges, waterways, landscaping and plantings – that invites greater access and public engagement,
- tell the stories by bringing Forest Lawn’s expansive archives and genealogical research to life through preservation, multimedia resources and interpretive tours, and
- assure the future by sustaining Forest Lawn’s place in our community through a permanent endowment to support emerging needs and new programs.
About The John R. Oishei Foundation
The John R. Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region. The Foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation. For more information, visit www.oisheifdt.org.
About Heritage Landscapes LLC
Heritage Landscapes LLC is a national and international leader in effective planning, implementation and management for valued cultural landscapes. Celebrating 25 years of exceptional work, Heritage Landscapes LLC is a woman-owned professional firm with offices and staff in Charlotte, VT, Norwalk, CT and Asheville, NC. Since 1987, the firm has specialized in projects focusing on the shared public landscape heritage, and has more than 400 projects and 59 professional awards to its credit. Heritage Landscapes is currently working on projects addressing the Frederick Law Olmsted Sr.-designed Capitol Square and the National Mall and Jefferson Memorial by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. For more information, visit www.heritagelandscapes.com.