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Replanting Liberty.

Trees are witnesses to history and symbols of strength and endurance, and no tree better symbolized those traits than Maryland's Liberty Tree, which stood on the grounds of St. John's College in Annapolis until 1999, when it had to be cut down after Hurricane Floyd. The tulip poplar had withstood gunpowder, lightning strikes, college pranks, and vandalism. AMERICAN FORESTS propagated 14 seedlings from this tree in its Historic Tree Nursery, and plans to plant one in each of the original 13 colonies, with the 14th reserved for President Bush to plant at the White House lawn.

Liberty Trees dated back to the American Revolution, when each of the colonies chose a tree to rally under for independence. Boston started the tradition, choosing an elm dubbed the "Tree of Liberty," that served as the meeting spot for the Sons of Liberty. British soldiers and American Loyalists knew what powerful symbols these trees were to the colonists and attempted to cut down as many as they could. Others fell victim to disease or age. But Maryland's tree endured for centuries, a living testament to the spirit and determination of the American colonists.

In 2002 AMERICAN FORESTS presented ceremonial seedlings to several of the 13 original colonies, with a promise to replant the symbol of liberty in each of the original colonies when the seedlings had grown large enough. Since then, the trees have been under the care of AMERICAN FORESTS' partner, the Providence Forum, at its Delaware nursery. Now about 10 feet tall, the tulip poplars are healthy and ready to be planted over the fall and spring.

October 18, the 225 anniversary of the end of the Revolutionary War, is the day Georgia plans to plant its Liberty Tree in Dalton, on the grounds of City Hall. Kris Thomas, Dalton's arborist and city landscape director, said the city was chosen because of its dedication to tree conservation and a location that will allow the Liberty Poplar to grow and thrive. The Dalton Tree Board is coordinating the event with AMERICAN FORESTS, The Providence Forum, and Taylor Guitars, an original sponsor of the program. Taylor Guitars also created limited edition guitars from some of the wood of the Maryland Liberty Tree after it died.

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Massachusetts will plant its Liberty Tree on Boston Common October 24. The replanting, which will return a missing piece of living history to Boston, will link to an evening presentation by 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai. Maathai, who was featured as an Earthkeeper in the Summer issue of American Forests, will speak about her community forestry and human rights activities in Kenya. Liberty Tree plantings in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island are planned for later this fall and in the spring of 2007. The remainder of the trees will be planted in the fall of 2008.
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Title Annotation:News from the world of Trees
Author:Kearns, Ethan
Publication:American Forests
Date:Sep 22, 2006
Words:473
Previous Article:Katrina 'ReLeaf' plantings begin.
Next Article:Sprucing up Spruce Mountain.


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