Flowering Forest – a Tree Tribute to John Lewis
300 Blooming Trees to Establish Spectacular Tree Tribute to Congressman John Lewis
Flowering Forest – a Tree Tribute to Civil Rights Leader John Lewis
Volunteer registration links below.
Honoring a life-long legacy of public service, a living tree tribute is being created in memorial to the late Congressman John Lewis in Freedom Park. Hundreds of blooming plants, including over 300 blooming trees, colorful flowering shrubs, and fields of daffodils will be planted in the first phase of a multi-year project. A 3-day volunteer planting project is scheduled for February 19, 20, and 21, ending on Sunday, which would have been John Lewis’s 81st birthday. Volunteers who wish to participate in the tree planting are required to register in advance (registration links below).
The trees and flowering plants have been selected for their early blooming in late winter (specifically around February) to celebrate the civil rights icon’s birthday with a spectacular blooming event each year. The desire to honor John Lewis’ life and legacy inspired the Freedom Park Conservancy, Trees Atlanta, and The National Center for Civil and Human Rights to bring together their commitments to community stewardship, urban tree cover, and civic storytelling.
Harriett Lane, Freedom Park Conservancy Chair acknowledges “Freedom Park has an important legacy in the areas of art, activism and nature, and this tree installation will honor John Lewis and allow us to reinforce his legacy for future generations. Today John Lewis Plaza within Freedom Park is anchored by the The Bridge, a work of sculptor Thornton Dial, which represents Congressman Lewis’ lifelong quest for the advancement of civil and human rights.”
The John Lewis Plaza is a space committed to celebrating his life. The park area around the Plaza provides the perfect venue for the initial planting of hundreds of flowering trees that will bring color into the space as a continuing celebration of his legacy. The “Flowering Forest – a Tree Tribute” planting project takes place in February allowing the public to honor Lewis’ birthday on February 21 as well as celebrate Black History Month and Georgia Arbor Day (February 19, 2021).
Over a five-year period, the Freedom Park Conservancy will lead the effort to extend the Flowering Forest with additional hundreds of blooming trees through Freedom Park, the largest linear park in the City of Atlanta, along the length of John Lewis Freedom Parkway to Boulevard. A stunning landmark corridor of blooming trees will link John Lewis Plaza, The Carter Center, and The King Center. Tree selections will include mostly native varieties of redbuds, magnolias, dogwoods, yellowwoods, buckeyes, fringe trees, and other flowering species.
Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta noted, “This February’s planting will create a natural annual blooming event that celebrates a great man who represented Atlanta for nearly four decades. Our tree tribute will continue growing for generations to honor his impact on social justice.”
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights’ Head of Programs & Exhibitions, Dr. Calinda Lee explained, “Congressman Lewis sowed seeds of hope and equity. His life’s work was an undaunted fight for civil and human rights — without prejudice or exception. The National Center for Civil and Human Rights is honored to join this partnership to celebrate John L. Lewis’s legacy and to serve as a tangible reminder of the beauty that can grow from a commitment to stay in good trouble. We look forward to sharing the Congressman’s story to inspire the changemaker in each of us.”
All volunteers must register in advance, spaces limited.
UPDATE: All volunteer slots are full.
We are managing the total number of participants in order to abide by public safety guidelines. It is very important to us to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants.
This project is the first of in a series of programs we will organize to create a Flowering Forest that will be planted along the John Lewis Freedom Parkway. Please consider signing up for our newsletter to receive updates, including information on additional projects to continue tree care for the trees installed at this project, plant fields of daffodils in the fall, and participate in future tree plantings to expand the Flowering Forest along the parkway.
About John Lewis: John Robert Lewis was an American statesman and civil rights leader who served in the United States House of Representatives for Georgia’s 5th congressional district from 1987 until his death in 2020. In 2018, a group of friends and leaders had the name of a major boulevard in Atlanta, Freedom Parkway, changed to honor Congressman Lewis. This boulevard is now called the John Lewis Freedom Parkway.
About Freedom Park Conservancy:Freedom Park Conservancy is working to adopt a new master plan for the approximately 200-acre Freedom Park by Spring 2021. Learn more about us at www.freedompark.org. Freedom Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the improvement and preservation of the park for the benefit of a diverse public. Born out of formidable citizen activism linking the movements of environmentalism, urbanism, historic preservationism and more, Freedom Park is now one of Atlanta’s largest public green spaces. Our vision is for Freedom Park to be Atlanta’s most innovative green space, celebrated for its inspiring origin and beauty.
About Trees Atlanta: Trees Atlanta is a nonprofit community group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating. Since its founding in 1985, Trees Atlanta has planted over 140,000 trees throughout metro Atlanta with volunteers and partners to ensure environmental, social, and economic benefits of trees are available and abundant for the health and well-being of all communities. Trees Atlanta plants over 7,000 trees every year, including helping to design, install, and maintain the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum; educates youth and adults through classroom lessons and hand-on training; and improves forested land by removing invasive species and restoring the native plant ecology of the area. Trees Atlanta is a trusted leader in organizing and demonstrating stewardship of our urban tree canopy. To volunteer and to learn more about the organization, please visit: treesatlanta.org.
About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights: The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta is a cultural institution that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to the struggle for human rights around the world today. The Center features a continuously rotating exhibit from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, which includes many of Dr. King’s documents and personal items. Visitors will be immersed in experiential exhibits through powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialogue — hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit www.civilandhumanrights.org. Join the conversation on civil and human rights: facebook.com/ctr4chr/ | instagram.com/ctr4chr/ | twitter.com/Ctr4CHR
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The Blooming Forest – A Tree Tribute to John Lewis is organized in partnership of these local nonprofit organizations.
This project is made possible with the support of the City of Atlanta, members of the Atlanta City Council, a generous sponsorship from UPS in partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation, and tree planting gifts from Trees Atlanta funders.
Posted: January 19, 2021
Updated: January 21, 2021