National Park Service Hosts Branching Out Youth Group to Replace Historic Fort Hill Cottonwood Trees Lost in December 2005 Storm

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Date: April 5, 2012
Contact: Bill Burke, Park Historian, 508-255-3421 ext 14

Cape Cod National Seashore Superintendent George Price has announced that the National Park Service (NPS) and the Olmsted Center for Landscape Preservation will host a Boston-area youth group trained in planting trees at historic properties on April 19-20, 2012.Four high school-age students will work with certified arborists to plant five cottonwood trees to replace those lost during a December 2005 windstorm along the driveway of the historic Penniman House in Eastham.The new cottonwood trees are four to five feet tall, and were cultivated in a nursery at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston beginning in 2007 using cuttings from the existing trees at the site.The new trees are genetically identical to the historic trees.

The Branching Out program engages young people in learning the concepts and techniques of landscape management practices within the National Park Service.Through structured hands-on field experiences, participants are exposed to a variety of opportunities that can lead to higher education and career exploration in park management.Youth participants work alongside National Park Service staff and trade professionals to protect park resources while acquiring the knowledge and skills of landscape stewardship and conservation. Superintendent Price remarked, "Although the 2005 storm that toppled the historic cottonwoods dealt a blow to the historic landscape at the Penniman House, we are fortunate to have been able to cultivate genetically identical trees to replace those that fell, and to have the opportunity to host this group of remarkable young people who are dedicated to preserving landscape features in our National Parks."

The towering cottonwood trees at the Penniman House have been a landmark landscape feature ever since whaling captain, Edward Penniman, returning from a business trip in Chicago, brought home cottonwood tree cuttings in his vest pocket.He planted the trees along his driveway shortly after the house was built in 1868 and they quickly grew to towering size.The NPS has documented the Penniman family and their home, and the 1995 Cultural Landscape Report for Fort Hill identified the strategy to replace the aging trees.The NPS, in collaboration with Friends of the Cape Cod National Seashore will restore and rejuvenate additional features in the Penniman House landscape this fall, including a brick patio and gravel path on the grounds of the house, and installation of a flag pole, which once stood on the property.

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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