Ampersandbox Case Study:
Conserving history, preparing for the future “Roots and Branches”
Part of building a new hospital, 30 trees, 90 azaleas and 90 day lilies needed to be removed from the space. Rapid and unannounced tree removal near the same space 20 years prior caused months of staff complaints and disrupted business.
I began to prepare the staff for the drastic landscape change about to occur. I enlisted staff support to create ideas for notifying and involving staff. The Roots and Branches committee decided on a multi prong approach. We created a banner with archival pictures of the many changes to the buildings over 60 years, to highlight the changes have been ongoing. The committee planned and orchestrated a closing ceremony and gratitude service for the green space that defined the front entrance. During the service, the hospital President, offered a re-frame of the situation. He said, “I hate to have the trees go except in this place, will be a new hospital that will bring 6,000/year – in my lifetime that is 500,000 babies safely born here…and for THAT, I am willing to lose the tress.” The committee also made arrangements with the landscape crew – to pull up the plants and allow employees to take one home to plant extending the legacy. Four large pieces of the trees for a future sculpture. The committee had learned there were several employees who were wood artisans.They supplied their ideas and an artisan/employee was selected. The trees came down.
A local botanical garden was present when the trees came down, and topped off the trees to try to grow new trees from the cuttings. The committee thought they could replant the new growth trees around the various hospital campuses. While the cuttings tried to grow, the building project began. This waiting time spent drying out/prepping the saved wood trunks. The propagation of the trees didn’t work. The employee did create an incredible art piece that now hangs in the lobby of the new building as a way of bringing the old and the new together. The employee entitled the sculpture – Convergence.
“I now understand the power this goodbye thing – Sarah, do you know how many complaints we got when the trees were felled? NONE! People were notified, involved and they understood the efforts to honor the former front entrance that had held space for employee gatherings and events for decades.”
Cone Health President, Mickey Foster said...