WWI Centennial Committee, Forestry Commission Announce Memorial Tree Project

Department of Arkansas Heritage - Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee and the Arkansas Forestry Commission are seeking to place a WWI Memorial Tree in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties before the centennial observance of the Great War concludes at the end of 2018.

Through the program, the Arkansas Forestry Commission will donate a two-year old willow oak to an organization in each county that will plant the tree in a public location and see that it is cared for. The WWI Committee will provide soil from the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France to be included in the planting.

The Committee is urging partnerships of local governments, Scout troops, American Legion posts, public libraries and others to sponsor and plant a WWI memorial tree in a public park, courthouse square or other appropriate location during the centennial commemoration in 2017-18, with a goal of having at least one in each of Arkansas’s 75 counties. The memorial trees will be included on the Committee’s website at

“This program will provide a living memorial to the thousands of Arkansans who served their country, many paying the ultimate sacrifices, during World War I,” Committee Chairman Shawn Fisher said.

“Arkansas is full of wonderful communities and civic groups who share pride in an opportunity to memorialize WWI Veterans through this program,” Arkansas State Forester Joe Fox said. “We are honored to donate trees and commit time from Arkansas Forestry Commission staff members across the state as a long lasting token of our appreciation to these great men and women.”

“The Department of Arkansas Heritage, which houses the WWI Committee, welcomes this opportunity to work with organizations around the state on this very special remembrance of the men and women who served in the Great War,” Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst said.

To serve as a partner for placement of a WWI Memorial Tree, potential partners should: Complete an application at

  • An AFC representative will contact accepted applicants on a first-come, first-served basis
  • Applicants should be ready to identify a tree planting site, and take responsibility for long-term maintenance of the tree
  • Applicants should be willing to host the delivery and planting of the tree, which will be completed by AFC representatives
  • Partners should plan a dedication ceremony for the WWI Memorial Tree.

In the years following the end of WWI in 1918, memorial trees were planted all over the world to remember the millions who perished during the war. More than 71,000 Arkansans served in the war, and 2,183 died. At least one stand of WWI memorial trees still exists in Arkansas: a small grove of holly trees on the campus of Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

For more information on Arkansas’s commemoration of World War I, visit or e-mail [email protected].

The mission of the Arkansas Forestry Commission is to protect Arkansas’s forests, and those who enjoy them, from wildland fire and natural hazards while promoting rural and urban forest health, stewardship, development, and conservation for all generations of Arkansans. The AFC is a part of the Arkansas Agriculture Department.

The Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee is part of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. Other DAH agencies are the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, the Historic Arkansas Museum and the Arkansas State Archives.