Gathering Place Receives Survivor Tree Seedling from Scissortail Park

Nov 8, 2019

Gathering Place horticulturalists Clayton Hilton (left), Kendall Golden, Sonny Harmon and Chandra Johnson shovel mulch around the park's seedling from the Survivor Tree, the American elm planted near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building that withstood the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

In May, representatives from the Gathering Place gave a cottonwood tree to be planted in downtown Oklahoma City’s brand-new, 70-acre Scissortail Park.

Gathering Place Executive Director Tony Moore said Scissortail Park has returned the favor by giving a "very significant tree."

"A tree that’s taken from a seedling of the American elm, the Survivor Tree, in Oklahoma City from the bombing," Moore said.

The Survivor Tree withstood the April 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building despite being planted yards from the building and still lives today.

"The Survivor Tree, I think, is such an incredible witness. I mean, trees are these silent witnesses in our natural world and our lives, and they’re these touchstones. And they’re truly giving trees in so many, many ways," said Scissortail Park Executive Director Maureen Heffernan.

Gathering Place officials said the seedling is the first Survivor Tree planted at a community space in Tulsa. Heffernan said the Survivor Tree is an important symbol for Oklahomans.

"Its survival was such a point of hope to that time that was just so traumatic. And so, I think to plant this here, it’s a symbol of resistance, of hope, of survival," Heffernan said.

The Gathering Place has planted its seedling in the north land bridge lawn near the ONEOK Boathouse.