Approximately 500 landscape professionals from 27 states gathered for the 26th annual Renewal & Remembrance event on July 18, 2022.
“I think it’s one of the true hallmarks of our association,” says Brandon Sheppard, a Weed man franchisor in the Mid-Atlantic. “We’re measured by our deeds, more than our words. It’s the members that make it happen. They travel long distances on their own dime, bringing many of their team with them. It’s a true portrayal of the sense of service and commitment to making our communities and country a better place that the members of the professional landscape association have at their core.”
Over the past 26 years at Arlington National Cemetery, and more recently on the National Mall, NALP members have contributed more than 50,000 hours of volunteer labor, put thousands of tons of lime on the turf, protected more than 100 historic trees with cabling and lightning protection, added landscaping, and improved many irrigation systems.
“My favorite part of Renewal & Remembrance is the work that we do as one team, whether it’s at the ANC or The National Mall, we all come together to accomplish our one goal of beautifying our national green spaces,” says John Guth, LIC, vice president of lawn for Green Lawn Fertilizing/Green Pest Solutions, based in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
In coordination with the National Park Service and the Trust for the National Mall, approximately 335 landscape professionals worked to help preserve the plants around the Lincoln Memorial by creating beds around the existing plants and mulching.
“We know when we do our work well, the outdoor environments we nurture positively impact the people that experience them,” says Mike Bogan, CEO of LandCare. “And what better place to do that here than at the Lincoln Memorial on this 100-year anniversary.”
“Today, we will create spatial definition by establishing bed edges and mold zones and an organic, biodynamic forest floor in the understory of the trees and shrubs that grow in this urban forest,” Bogan adds. “This work will enrich these plants by creating healthier, more efficient root zones that will rely less on supplemental food and water and be more resistant to stress from environmental and other factors.”
Around 130,000 pounds of mulch was applied around boxwoods, American Hollies, Southern Magnolias and yews.
“Getting to work on the Lincoln Memorial project this year was a highlight for me; there was an instant gratification – seeing the work that was completed,” Guth says. “There was a definite sense of pride being able to leave my mark on a national monument. It’s something I will remember for a long time.”
Another 165 volunteers served at Arlington National Cemetery, where they conducted turf enhancement projects, handled irrigation repair and upgrades at the Columbarium and installed lightning protection for six historic trees. NALP President Bob Grover, LIC, spoke to the volunteers at ANC before the projects got underway.
“The highlight of my presidency is to be able to give that speech in this venue during this event,” Grover says. “To come here and see all those who have sacrificed for us and for our freedom, to gain our freedom and to keep us free for 250 years is very, very impactful.”
This year also marked the return of the Children’s Program, which was paused during the pandemic. Volunteers’ children aged 12 and under participated in activities specifically designed for them at both of the volunteer sites.
At ANC, children watched the wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then planted annuals at the Kearny Monument. Meanwhile, at the Lincoln Memorial, children were dubbed junior rangers and were educated about some of the National Mall’s monuments.
Joe Markell, LIC, owner of Sunrise Landscape + Design, based in Sterling, Virginia, says he’s been attending Renewal & Remembrance for at least 15 years and hope it never ends. He says he’s proud of the projects they’ve done over the years, and it feels good to give back in their own way.
“I don’t think I’ve talked to anybody who has come here and really regretted coming or wasn’t impacted by it in some way,” said Markell.