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Designing a Legacy

Casey Pearcy (left) and Lizzy Wernert make notes during a visit to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in March. Images courtesy of CAFNR News. 

Wernert's design had to cover 25 acres of the 227-acre site. This drawing incorporates her plans for the memorial fountain feature.


Forestry student Elizabeth (Lizzy) Wernert describes herself as a tree hugger, but, in fact, she’s the one collecting grateful hugs from the guardians of a historic state cemetery and final resting place for veterans.

The Missouri Veterans Cemetery in Waynesville, Mo., announced in June that Wernert’s landscape design will be used to replace the cemetery’s failed landscaping. The plan extends over 25 developed acres of the 227-acre site located near Fort Leonard Wood, a U.S. Army installation in Missouri Ozark Mountain country.

Implementation of the new design will be done in stages beginning in July with work on landscaping around the Committal Shelter, a structure used for services to honor the veterans or their spouses being interred. That area is often the first impression families have of the facility.

[Casey Pearcy (left) and Lizzy Wernert make notes during a visit to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in March.] Casey Pearcy (left) and Lizzy Wernert make notes during a visit to the Missouri Veterans Cemetery in March.

After visiting the site in March, six students of Instructor Tim Moloney developed plans and presented their design ideas to cemetery officials in May as part of their Advanced Landscape Design Course. Moloney teaches the senior Capstone Course in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Division of Plant Sciences.

Selecting a winning design from the six plans was difficult, cemetery Director Charles Baxter says. “The students did a marvelous job. All the ideas submitted had elements that would work wonderfully in the cemetery. Lizzy’s happened to be the one we liked the most.”

Baxter commended Wernert’s plan for her inclusion of plant symbolism and her “special notes,” particularly on maintenance, that helped place her ideas ahead of all others.

Wernert’s detailed instructions on the planting, long-term care and replacement of the trees and shrubs were critically important inclusions. The cemetery has lost 128 trees to dry summers, disease, soil problems and pests – a recipe for landscape failure. Even the surviving trees aren’t thriving in the very thin soil over rock and clay. All the students suggested hauling in soil as the greatest need.

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About this Story

Campus: UMC
Key words: Agriculture, MU Campus,
County: Pulaski

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