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Cast your 'star rating' for Fort Monroe oak, a 'Remarkable Tree of Virginia'
What were you doing about 450 to 500 years ago?
Oh, thatís right, you werenít here, says Debbie Blanton of Hampton's Clean City Commission.
But the Algernourne Oak at Fort Monroe was Ė it was a young tree just getting a toehold on life. Now itís a venerable, REMARKABLE Tree of Virginia.
To show your love and appreciation for this grand old tree of Hampton, go to http://cnre.vt.edu/4h/remarkabletree/detail.cfm?AutofieldforPrimaryKey=1261 and give it five stars.
Perhaps you know of a remarkable Hampton tree that needs to be recognized, one that is recognized as the largest of its kind, one that has historic connections, one that is associated with a community or its events, a particularly beautiful tree, a unique tree, or some other tree that is just plain old special for whatever reason Ė nominate it as a Remarkable Tree of Virginia, says Blanton. Go to http://cnre.vt.edu/4h/remarkabletree/form.cfm.
You never know when the authors of Remarkable Trees of Virginia will revisit their project and perhaps look at some other remarkable trees in Virginia. Meanwhile ďyourĒ tree will be recognized as special just by being on the list!
For more information about the Remarkable Trees of Virginia, both the book and the program, go to http://cnre.vt.edu/4h/remarkabletree/index.cfm.
Why all this fuss about a tree?
In this case, weíre standing up to be counted because this particular tree is a link to our distant past and, hopefully, to our distant future, says Blanton.
But trees in general deserve a fuss to be made over them because they give us so much and ask so little. They give us a variety of environmental quality gifts, like clean water, clean air, erosion prevention, temperature modification, habitat for wildlife, noise absorption, and food.
They give us a beauty that canít be provided in any other way, with their pleasing shapes, beautiful colors, and background to our everyday lives.
They also connect us to the past in a way that almost nothing else does, except perhaps old houses or archaeological finds. The best part is that they are still living and breathing, while old houses and artifacts are not. The huge trees we admire today didnít jump into the ground yesterday. Theyíve grown over decades and centuries to remind us of what once was.
For example, we canít look at the Emancipation Oak (http://cnre.vt.edu/4h/remarkabletree/detail.cfm?AutofieldforPrimaryKey=1334) without thinking about the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, the founding of Hampton University, and the educator Mary Peake.
We canít visit the Moon Tree (http://cnre.vt.edu/4h/remarkabletree/detail.cfm?AutofieldforPrimaryKey=1291) at Booker Elementary School without being reminded of the young space program and the hopes of a Bicentennial nation and the young girl Marjorie White, who wrote a poem that won for the school the sycamore tree grown from seeds that traveled in space.
All they ask in return is some space to grow uninhibited by asphalt and heavy traffic and to be pruned when necessary for health. Although they donít ask for our love and admiration, it seems little enough to give them.
For more information, contact the Hampton Clean City Commission at email@example.com or 727-1130.