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Trees, Plaques Memorialize People, Principles

Photos by Damon Tighe

Every tree has its own things to say about itself, but some — not because nature has been insufficent — have additional announcements. Because more and more people consider a memorial tree to be a desirable way to commemorate a longtime NIH'er's passing, the Office of Research Services instituted a policy last spring governing such remembrances. "It's becoming more and more popular," said Lynn Mueller, chief of the grounds maintenance and landscaping branch, ORS, "but we don't want the place to end up looking like Arlington (National Cemetery)." A process managed by his colleague Patricia Wheeler, a landscape architect, determines how many memorial trees there will be, what kind (shade or flowering is one consideration), and where it will be planted. "People tend to want them near the building or laboratory where the person worked, but to some it doesn't matter," Mueller said.

There are about eight memorial trees presently on campus, he reckons, and three were planted in the past year. Most are in the vicinity of Bldgs. 31, 10 and Natcher. No applications are currently pending, he noted.

The three memorial plaques clockwise (from bottom left) mark trees planted in the shadow of the Natcher Bldg. The top, right image was double-exposed for additional effect.

The Tree of Hippocrates (bottom, right) memorializes not an alumnus but a principle, and has stood outside the National Library of Medicine since December 1961.

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