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NALP’s Renewal & Remembrance returns

July 28, 2021 -  By
Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) marked the 25th anniversary of its Renewal & Remembrance by working on projects at Arlington National Ceremony and the National Mall. (Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography)

The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) marked the 25th anniversary of its Renewal & Remembrance event on July 19.

Landscape professionals from around the country came together to enhance the grounds at Arlington National Cemetery. This year, Renewal & Remembrance expanded to include enhancements at the National Mall near the Washington Monument because only a limited number of volunteers were permitted at Arlington.

 “To be able to volunteer on a national cemetery, a place where people come to honor and visit their loved ones, and to know that we’re helping maintain and enhance a place that is so sacred and has the power to heal those who come to visit, that’s pretty powerful,” said Shayne Newman founder of Yardscapes Landscape Professionals in New Milford, Conn., and president of NALP’s board of directors.

Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography

Volunteers at the National Mall spread 350 cubic yards of wood chips around cherry trees at the property. (Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography)

More than 100 people spread 350 cubic yards of wood chips at the National Mall to help preserve the cherry trees near the monument. Volunteers also performed needle tining and slice seeding on the 33 acres of turf of the JFK Hockey Fields, FDR Memorial fields and the polo field at the National Mall.

Bruce Allentuck, owner of Allentuck Landscaping in Clarksburg, Md., said these woodchips serve a specific purpose: to add organic material to the soil and introduce beneficial microorganisms to the root zone of the trees. Allentuck, who has been volunteering at Renewal & Remembrance for 18 years, said the National Park Service told volunteers that this process has been implemented at another location with noticeable improvements to the health of the trees.

“It really opened everybody’s eyes up to what we do is not always just aesthetics, but it improves the environment and the climate as well,” Allentuck said.

At Arlington National Cemetery, 125 volunteers installed lightning protection for historic oak trees. They also installed irrigation system repairs and upgrades to the Columbarium, the Administration Building and near the National Park Service’s Arlington House and performed hardscape repair, landscape lighting installation and turf improvements.

Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography

Volunteers repair hardscaping at Arlington National Cemetary. (Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography)

Renewal & Remembrance chairman, John Eggleston with Spartan Irrigation in Lansing, Mich., said the relationship with Arlington is very special.

“They don’t allow other groups to come in and do what we do,” he said of the Office of Army Cemeteries. “We are pretty much the only ones that they work with.”

Newman and his family laid the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on behalf of NALP. While Newman said that ceremony was a special moment, he added, “It’s more about the association and its members and what we do collectively as a group.”

Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography

Shayne Newman, president of NALP’s board of directors, and family lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography)

Newman and Allentuck are quick to point out that one day of giving back at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall doesn’t take away from the impressive work that the National Parks Service grounds crew does day in and day out.

“I was just so happy to be working in the shadow of the Washington Monument,” Allentuck said. “Thirty-one million people visit (the National Mall) a year. One hundred of us spent the day working on it. The National Park Service does it every day. So, we made a very small contribution.”

Things were a little different for this year’s event than in previous years. Because of the pandemic, NALP did not hold the children’s program. NALP also recognized Eggleston for serving as the Renewal & Remembrance chairperson for six years in a row at a kickoff event the night before.

Eggleston said he’s had a front seat to watching Renewal & Remembrance evolve from a way to get members to volunteer and participate in a day on Capitol Hill to now being its own event. Adding work at the National Mall allows for more and more volunteers to come each year. He said he also looks forward to what NALP has in store to continue to grow the service opportunities with Renewal & Remembrance.

“To be able to be a part of something like this has been probably one of the greatest things I’ve been involved in in my career,” he said. “It’s just something that is near and dear to my heart.”

Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography

Volunteers perform tining and slice seeding on the 33 acres of turf at the JFK Hockey Fields, FDR Memorial fields and the polo field at the National Mall. (Photo: Philippe Nobile Photography)

Allentuck said NALP’s Renewal & Remembrance committee had about three months to figure out the logistics of hosting volunteers at Arlington National Cemetery and the National Mall. Newman tipped his hat at the support of NALP’s team and the sponsors of the Renewal & Remembrance event, including Caterpillar, John Deere, New Holland Construction and SiteOne. Once NALP got the green light for the day of service, the committee sprang into action.

“We had no hesitation from the usual sponsors for this event,” Newman said. “The event doesn’t happen without the sponsors.”

Newman said it was gratifying to connect with NALP members and friends in more than a year.

“It was the first time our members have been together in 18 months,” he said. “And for it to be that event, it couldn’t be for a better reason.”

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Christina Herrick

About the Author:

Christina Herrick is the editor of Landscape Management magazine. Known for her immersive approach to travel from coast to coast in her previous stint as senior editor of American Fruit Grower Magazine, she uses social media (Twitter/Instagram @EditorHerrick) to share her experiences on the road with her audience. Herrick has a degree in journalism from Ohio Northern University and has been in B2B publishing for seven years. She can be reached at cherrick@northcoastmedia.net.

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