The National Association of Landscape Professional’s (NALP) annual Renewal & Remembrance, held in Washington DC, marked the event’s 25th anniversary. Although it looked different in some ways this year NALP says attendees found it as meaningful as ever.
NALP members worked side-by-side to accomplish several projects in the Arlington National Cemetery as well as The National Mall. More than 200 members volunteered their time, equipment, and supplies to make this possible.
A memorable and meaningful experience
“This year, due to COVID-19, there were restrictions on the number of participants at Arlington National Cemetery, so we added the projects on the National Mall,” explains Britt Wood, CEO of NALP. “John Deere, a long-time partner of Renewal & Remembrance connected us with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service (NPS). They hand-selected the projects to help protect the Cherry trees by the Washington Monument and to aerate the sports fields. With 25 million visitors a year, the grounds of the National Mall need constant care.”
According to Stephanie Johnson, director of turf and utility marketing at John Deere, Renewal & Remembrance is one of company’s most popular volunteer events. John Deere provided the tractors and aerators to assist in the projects around the National Mall, including aerating and mulching.
“The goal of the aerating was to complete 30+ acres of aeration on the Mall proper—along with some athletic fields adjacent to the Mall,” Johnson says. “For mulching, we spread more than 400 yards of mulch in various areas around the Mall.”
In Arlington National Cemetery, NALP members also performed several tasks. This included lightning protection for nine historic oak trees, irrigation repair and upgrades at the Columbarium, hardscape repair work, landscape lighting installation, and turf improvements.
Happy to be back
After having to put this special event on hold last year due to the pandemic, many volunteers expressed that they were happy to be back. Miles Kuperus, a systems architect with Include Software, has been attending the event since childhood (his parents own Farmside Landscape & Design in Wantage, New Jersey). Now, he is an NALP Champion—which his one of the members that helps to coordinate the behind-the-scenes work of the event.
“Following the pause from last year due to COVID, we were all very excited to be back,” Kuperus says. “The experience was great. The partnership with the NPS was filled with gratitude from both parties. The volunteers took to the work well because everyone had a task.
Kuperus says that the most memorable part for him was when the trucks started rolling in and dumping woodchips. The volunteers got right to work and started moving them—fast.
“We accomplished one massive project in a short period of time by all working together,” Kuperus says. “The backdrop of the Washington Monument was a stunner to enjoy while we worked.”
John Deere’s Johnson echoes similar sentiments regarding the success of the event—as well as John Deere’s partnership with the Trust for the National Mall—a relationship they’ve been honored to hold for more than a decade. They have been providing equipment, attachments, training, and service to continue to keep the National Mall in its best shape.
“This equipment is utilized to maintain the National Lawn at the levels that match and represent our John Deere brand and values,” she says. “With our dealer partnership, our products are maintained and supported in top condition through all seasons to assist in keeping the National Mall a destination for visitors from around the US and world.”