Trees represent more long-lasting significance than thought

TEMP ORARY November 17, 2011 2

A 400-year-old white oak tree fell during Hurricane Irene at Messiah College. Due to its age, this 90-foot-tall tree was an icon for the College. Currently, the ecology and sustainability class at Messiah is working diligently, trying to find resourceful ways for the lumber to be used.

Messiah’s grounds manager Jared Rudy said, “A sawmill came on campus and it was actually for a class taught by David Foster. The students helped the guy running the sawmill make planks, boards and fence posts to be used on campus. And also, the brush and branches were used in natural areas around campus as mulch.” However, there are “still several logs that have not been used, and it has not been determined what they are going to be used for,” Rudy said. There are also ideas of making the wood into gifts so people can remember the tree. For instance, alumni could purchase the products as a memento.

Elizabethtown College will soon construct a dam to protect area surrounding Lake Placida, thus requiring additional space which a few trees are currently occupying. According to Director of Facilities Joe Metro, in order for that to occur, many trees are going to have to be cut down.

As a result, a sustainability plan will be put into action: for every tree cut down, two will be planted to combat the loss of the original. In total, 22 beautiful trees are planned to decorate the campus. Facilities is also hoping to pick a variety of tree species. They will be chosen in the fall, so that by spring they will be ready to grow.

However, these new trees will be planted only if the ones that are being cut down cannot be replanted. Metro discussed how, though they are hoping to replant the trees, “due to the size of the trees and the location of the dam, the location may not permit relocation as pulling the root ball from the dam will create a weak area in the dam which could cause a breach during heavy rains, even after we fill it.” Metro also said that they were able to replant trees from another project, so hopefully this one will be as successful. These previously replanted trees can be seen at the beginning of Alpha Drive; there are eight in total, and at one point they were in front of Esbenshade.

If replanting the trees is unsuccessful, useable wood will be saved, and the 22 new trees will be planted around the campus. Metro said they have used some leftover wood from previous projects to create useful items. This wood was used for benches located in the Lyet Atrium, second floor, which were built at the request of the biology department.

During this project, wood that can be reused will be sent to the Brown Building for future projects. However, “since trees cut down due to their age or storm damage often have considerable hidden decay, the amount and quantity of useful wood that can be cut is often disappointingly small,” Metro said.

Along with the trees near the dam, another famous tree on campus is having problems. According to senior Kyrstal Talley, the traditions chair of Student Senate, the tree in front of the library that is used for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony is officially dead. It is a sad moment for the campus community. However, there are two trees in the Dell that will take the place of Etown’s old Christmas tree. They are located on either side of the gazebo. No other trees evaluated were suitable; for example, two of the potential candidates were too tall because the lift used to put the lights on the tree only reaches to a certain point. Therefore, it was determined that the two trees in the Dell were perfect for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. It may seem strange to current students that the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at a different site, but the Dell was actually the original location of the tradition.

This can be looked at as a positive change because, when the tree lighting was held in front of the library, there was limited space. The area was crowded, and many people had trouble hearing the carolers and speakers. This time around there will be more than enough room. It should also be noted that, due to inclement weather, the ceremony has been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m.

The location may have changed but the idea behind the tradition remains the same. “New President, new year, new Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony,” Talley explained.
All of these trees have a significance and importance to each campus, which is evident in the planned replanting, replacing, resourcing and relocating of each tree.


  1. fergusonsarah December 6, 2011 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I am so glad that is work just the way the universities want.. Thanks for this information.. 🙂

  2. LauLau81 December 7, 2011 at 11:43 am - Reply

    Very informative blog.. Thanks for sharing making us aware how important trees are.. Keep posting some more valuable post like this..

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