Monday, October 7, 2013

Why Should We Save a Tree?

The Angel Oak, an old oak tree on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, is in danger from development.  Not direct danger - no one is coming to cut this iconic tree down (yet, anyway),but it is in very real danger.

Part of this post dates from 2012, after we visited the tree.  Even then, the tree was in danger. Now, the danger has a deadline:  November 21, 2013.

By this date,  $3.6 million dollars must be raised in order to purchase part of an adjorning parcel of land, some 17 acres, needed to protect the far reaching root system of the tree.

Without that space around the tree, development of the rest of the nearby parcel could kill it even if a hand is never raised against the tree itself.  The tree also needs protection from wind and, right now, that is provided by nearby trees.  Those neighboring trees also help soak up water. Live Oak root systems are shallow and can be fragile.

But first, why should you care?  It's just a tree - right?

Listen to a 31 year old woman who loves the Angel Tree and has devoted herself to saving the tree.

Then, read portions of my blog post from 2012, below.

And then, decide for yourself.

There is nothing that can make you feel small as much as a huge object of nature.   This is just a small portion of the Angel Tree.  It is located on Johns Island, one of the islands that partially surround Charleston, South Carolina.  We traveled over 800 miles to see Charleston, and this tree.

The shade it casts measures over 17,000. square feet in area.  The green blotches on branches are resurrection ferns
Here is one of its many branches.
And here is another, haunting view. 

The Angel Oak's age is estimated as somewhere between 500 and 1500 years old.  It is not the oldest tree in the United States, but it is said to be the oldest tree east of the Mississippi.

We had never heard of the Angel Oak before our visit to South Carolina in 2012.  We heard about it from a native, who said "you just have to see this; it is so peaceful."  Apparently this is quite the attraction, as there were a number of other people there oohing and ahhing.  On private property, it is free (there is a low key gift shop nearby), and there are even picnic tables nearby.

It was peaceful.  It's hard to describe the feeling we had.  Awe?  Something more?
Yes, we feel this tree is worth saving.  Others do, too.  The donations are coming in - but will they reach the fundraising goal in time?

The tree gets some 36,000.visitors a year from all over the world.

I'd love my grandchildren (when I have any) to see this tree one day.

If you feel the Angel Tree should be protected from development , please consider donating to the Lowcountry Open Land Trust.


  1. Now, that's traveling outside of your neighborhood.

  2. What a beautiful post. I do believe in saving nature. We tend to destroy so much around us that this post is a beautiful reminder of nature. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. That tree gives a different perspective on time and space. It is amazing that it can live that long and that it can still reach further.

  4. As a local here I am, of course, very supportive of protecting it's surrounding environment. Drayton Hall, for example, purchased the property across the Ashley River from it to prevent condos being built. To be in a setting which has no distractions is so much a part of the experience. Nice post, Alana.


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