Environmental group urges city to reconsider invasive tree for 9/11 tribute

The callery pear tree is a descendant of a tree rescued from the wreckage of September 11, but it was found to be an invasive species with potential to harm Fort Wayne's ecosystem.

Posted: Feb 9, 2019 3:29 PM
Updated: Feb 11, 2019 9:03 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - A group of environmental and nonprofit organizations is asking the city of Fort Wayne to reconsider a tree planted as a tribute to 9/11. 

The callery pear tree, located at the memorial on Wells Street, is a descendant of a tree rescued from the wreckage of September 11, but it was found to be an invasive species with potential to harm Fort Wayne's ecosystem.

Every year millions of dollars, foundation grants and private donations are used to eradicate invasive species like the callery pear tree according to a release sent Friday.

In May of last year the Indiana Department of Natural Resources sent a press release throughout the state urging communities to avoid planting callery pear trees.

“As our city leaders, we count on you to make responsible decisions that will maintain and improve the ecological diversity of the city’s public spaces,” said Celia Garza, chair of the Northeast Indiana Sierra Club Network Group, one of the groups sending a letter to city officials. 

The letter offered the city two options that may enable the tree to remain without causing negative effects: keep the tree indoors where its seeds cannot spread or spray the tree yearly with an inhibiting agent to prevent it from seeding. The latter being an option the group would prefer not to see happen.

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