Oak Tree Planting Ceremory

Welcoming the new tree.

The new Cowper Oak looks great! The landscaping is very attractive and, most important, itʼs tree-friendly – providing permeability and protection from traffic.

And the choice of a deciduous Valley Oak bodes well for many reasons. Best of all, it is a native tree that will one day be majestic, as was our dear departed George.

This is the result of a constructive interaction between neighbors and the city staff as well as others including Canopy, PA historians, woodworking experts, Channing house…. Thanks are due to all who helped!

It didnʼt start out that way – it started in September with a sign on the tree that said “Tree Removal” plus some fine print. Wow. Were we ever dismayed! Ian went and spoke at the next Council meeting.

Then we started talking with neighbors and bugging Dave Dockter and others. Attempts were made to save the tree and care was taken to ascertain that it really did pose a serious risk of falling.

Neighbors were included in discussions about Georgeʼs condition, choice of replacement tree and landscape plans, as well as ways to memorialize George. But if we had not blown a whistle in the first place we might not have had such a good outcome. Speaking of outcomes, I have two hopes:

FIRST, I hope that the care that has been taken over this new tree shows that the city has raised its prioritization of street trees, especially heritage ones, and that it resolves to improve their maintenance.

SECOND, I hope that the group of neighbors who have been participating will expand and remain in touch both in person and by email, ready to go into action over neighborhood issues that may arise in the future.

By the way, this combination of watchful neighbors and responsive officials is key to putting an end to debacles like the stealthy denuding of Calif Ave last year!!!!

I wont be around when this tree gets seriously big, but our newest neighbor, Isabella, will, and hopefully it will be here much longer than George was for all to enjoy.