This is a story with a sad part and a happy part about good things that end and start again.
One day, an oak acorn was planted and a sapling started to reach for the heavens. Currently located in the tree grove on Union County College’s campus in Cranford, New Jersey, this tree will soon be transported to the Basking Ridge Presbyterian Church in the hopes it will continue to grow tall and strong. There will be no fanfare, no parade — after all, most trees are often overlooked for their value. But one day this tree will be famous.
In its current location, the 600 year old Great White Oak is dying. At one point in the Great White Oak’s life, the Reverend George Whitefield preached to about 3,000 people from beneath its leaves. Another famous George — George Washington — once picnicked beside it. Three church buildings have been built in its shadow. But in the last few years, the Great White Oak has shown signs it was in poor health: losing its canopy, suffering from rot, and growing weak. Arborists have confirmed that the end is near for the Great White Oak.
Fans come to visit the Great White Oak tree as it is being removed. “I know it seems funny to some to mourn a tree, but I’m really going to miss seeing it,” said one resident. Standing about 100 feet tall, with an 18 foot circumference, the tree has been “an integral part of the town” for many years, featured in photos and artwork dating back to 1740. The tree was here before there was a town. But all good things must end.
And that is why, in 2001, Dr. Thomas M. Ombrello, collected acorns from the old tree. Experts believe that few trees will replicate the old oak’s 600-year longevity. Climate impacts and warmer seasons are taking their toll on our trees. Which is why the sixteen year old sapling at the Union County College, started from the acorn of its parent, will likely be famous — it will soon take its place nearby in the yard where its ancestor stood proud for all of American history. A good thing starts again.
To read the full story of the Great White Oak, please visit MSN news.