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The Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Project

SaplingSouthern Cayuga Schools Tree SiteSouthern Cayuga Anne Frank Project

Situated right next to the Emily Howland elementary school playground and in the Southern Cayuga School District is a living memorial -- a tree sapling from the horse chestnut tree that Anne Frank looked at from her window during her two years in hiding in Amsterdam. This is one of 11 sites selected  by the Anne Frank Center USA to receive the sapling, and one of only two schools to receive the sapling nationwide.   In recognition of this great honor, a committee bringing quality student and community programming to the area that promotes tolerance, justice, equality and understanding, and the building of the Anne Frank Tree site was formed. The Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree site is a half hour drive from Ithaca, NY in the town of Poplar Ridge.

The Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree was planted at the Southern Cayuga School in Poplar Ridge, an area strongly influenced by Quakers and nearby abolitionists and leaders of the women's rights movement. The tree site is layered with references and imagery. The hexagonal shape is the internal shape of the Star of David. The use of cobblestone refers to the streets of Europe. Surrounding the cobblestone are eleven boulders, representing the number of Anne Frank trees given to US locations. Four of these boulders are of the same type of stone and reference Marion Blumenthal Lazan’s metaphor of four perfect pebbles used in her book of the same name. Four is also the number of members in Anne’s family and the number of people who helped those hiding in the annex. In addition to the use of specific materials and shapes, the dimensions of the site have been carefully considered, referencing the number 18 because of its significance in Jewish culture.

The mission of the Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree Project is to educate and empower children so that they recognize their abilities as individuals to use their thoughts, words, and deeds to cultivate and promote understanding, tolerance, and justice within our community and in our society as a whole. To this end, the Anne Frank tree will serve as a tangible symbol and a reminder of the impact each human being can have in creating positive change, in improving the quality of life for all members of our community and society, and in inspiring others. This mission will be executed through the study of history with the intention of understanding our past, through the education of members of the school and the community regarding social justice issues, and through the recognition and promotion of student activism that is directed at creating a better future.

Follow this link to learn more about programs offered by the Southern Cayuga Anne Frank Tree commitee

Follow these links to read more about the Sapling Story and find out where other saplings are located across the country.

 For more information, please email