The Journey to 620,000 Trees in Honor of Civil War Participants

Nov 21, 2016

Charlottesville Tree Steward Chris Gensic
Credit Chris Gensic

While most of this state’s gardening gets done in the spring and summer, Virginia’s tree lovers have been busy this fall.  Sandy Hausman reports on an effort to plant 620,000 – one for each man who died in the Civil War.

Chris Gensic is a tree commissioner and coordinator of parks and trails in Charlottesville.  This month, he says, volunteers planted 64 Jefferson elms, white swamp oaks, tulip poplars and Kentucky Coffee trees between the city and Monticello.

“There’s this huge wide median, and we decided to put an alley of large trees in it, so 40 to 50 years from now you’ll have this beautiful cathedral of trees on the way to Monticello.”

They got help from members of the National Guard and from a four-state partnership called the The Journey through Hallowed Ground.  To mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Gensik says that group intends to plant 620,000 trees.

Credit billemory.com

“And every tree will be tagged  to an individual’s story, where they came from, where they served.  They came and helped us plant our gateway.  When they come back to plant their redbuds and understory trees we will help them plant those trees and together we’ll have not only the Jefferson gateway, but the beginning of the Journey through Hallowed Ground.”

That journey begins at Monticello and stretches 180 miles north to Gettysburg, passing through nine presidential homes and sites, 18 national and state parks,  hundreds of Civil War battlefields and more than a thousand historic houses and towns.