The Survivor Tree Youth Program
In October 2001, a severely damaged tree was discovered at Ground Zero in New York, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches. The tree was removed from the rubble and placed in the care of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
After its recovery and rehabilitation, the tree was returned to the 9/11 Memorial in 2010. New, smooth limbs extended from the gnarled stumps, creating a visible demarcation between the tree’s past and present. Today, the tree stands as a living reminder of resilience, survival, and rebirth.
The Survivor Tree at Ground Zero, New York.
Each year, the 9/11 Memorial gives seedlings from the Survivor Tree to three communities that have endured tragedy in recent years. Utøya received a seedling in 2021, ten years after a right-wing terrorist killed 69 young people attending a summer camp for the Labour Party Youth Organization. Like the Survivor Tree, Utøya and other recipients have had to survive and heal through rebirth and resilience. Like the tree, each community has its own seedlings, young people representing the present and the future.
The Survivor Tree Youth Program aims to connect and support these young people to strengthen our common fight against extremism and for peaceful coexistence. It gathers young people from past and future community recipients of the Survivor Tree seedlings to an annual youth camp at Utøya to share their knowledge and experience of rebuilding communities in the wake of terror. The aim is to support and learn from each other’s efforts through networking and common projects, and to develop good practices and recommendations for communities that may endure terror attacks in the future.
The Survivor Tree Youth Programme is offered in partnership with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum.