Survivor Tree Leaves

What does it mean to be “resilient?” The Survivor Tree is a symbol of hope and resilience for many people who visit the 9/11 Memorial. Learn the story of the Survivor Tree and create a Survivor Tree leaf to inspire those in your community.

People walking towards a callery pear tree with dark green leaves in the center. The tree is flanked by oak trees with orange-brown leaves.
Photo by Jin S. Lee

Inspiration

Weeks after 9/11, a single Callery pear tree, which became known as the Survivor Tree, was discovered buried in rubble at Ground Zero. It was burned and badly damaged, but it still showed signs of life. Workers rescued the tree and it was transported to a park where it was tended to and cared for. Over the years, it grew from eight to 30 feet tall, sprouting new branches and flowering in spring. It was returned to the 9/11 Memorial plaza in 2010. It is a living symbol of hope and resilience, which is the ability to recover and bounce back after facing change or difficulties.

Materials

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Colored pencils or markers

Instructions

  • Watch this short video that tells the story of the Survivor Tree. Why is this tree so special?
  • Draw the outline of a leaf onto a sheet of paper. Need Inspiration? Look at the picture of the Survivor Tree, download the Survivor Tree leaf template, or trace your hand with your fingers closed.
  • Cut out your leaf with scissors.
  • Write or draw a message of hope on your leaf. Think about the story of the Survivor Tree—what symbols or words come to mind when you think of what it stands for?
  • Get creative! Use crayons, colored pencils, marker, or other materials you have at home to make it colorful.
  • Tape your leaf onto your window or door for people to see and share it on social media using the hashtag #911MuseumEd.

Share Your Creation with Us

Lesson Plan: Moving Forward After Tragedy

This lesson plan explores how communities move forward after a tragic event.

Activities at Home

Inspired by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum’s Activity Stations, these simple, at-home activities offer step-by-step instructions for you to create your own artwork with materials you have at home.